It’s been THREE whole years since the force of Bedford’s very own Don Broco released their debut album Priorities but finally, their sophomore album Automatic is here! We’ve obviously been pretty damn excited to hear this album seeing as it’s been a long wait but a follow on to such a well written, successful debut album was never going to be easy. So it’s safe to say that our expectations for Automatic were, possibly unfairly. exceedingly high. But what did Don Broco do to our expectations? They didn’t just exceed them, no. They threw them up in the air and smashed them far far away into the abyss, in typical Broco style.
Now, let’s get things straight. Every good band has to find a way to develop their sound and make a different impact with each album they release. It’s always interesting to hear that progress in sound but it doesn’t always work. These guys though, did. They really made it work. We were given an taster of their new direction with the pre-releases of some album tracks. ‘Superlove’ is a clever pop track with rock underlays, ‘What You Do To Me’ makes us feel like we’re being seduced and ready to get our game on, and the title track ‘Automatic’ is funking brilliant.
But these tracks really were just teasers. Upon listening to the whole album, the band offer so much more than we thought we were going to get. We’ve got the rock sing along of ‘Fire’, the kind of ambient vibes of ‘Let You Get Away’ before the chorus blows you away and ‘Further’, which is an uplifting and epic pop-rock track that really ends the album with full class.
We did notice that Matt Donnelly’s vocals aren’t used as predominantely as they were in Priorities but this just gives room for lead vocalist Rob Damiani to show off his vocals; and we think he’s defeinitely been practising as he sounds noticeably stronger than previously. It also means that when Matt’s vocals do come back in either as back up or as lead, as they do in ‘Further’, they have an even bigger positive impact as they had before.
The band as a whole is unbelievably tight and as always with Don Broco, you can hear that these are truly talented musicians at work. The sex-funk-bass of Tom Doyle and the groovy, ambient yet rocky guitar of Si Delaney, who has even enticed us to some well worked guitar solos, definitely do not go unnoticed. The song-writing in general throughout the album is top notch and somehow, just somehow, is a step further than that of Priorities. In some cases, we might even stretch and say their is some world-class songwriting and musicianship going on here.
Sure, this album might not have the subtle time signature changes and might have a bit less of that ‘rock’-bite as their debut but it has so much more going for it. Every song is memorable. Every song has us dancing interacting with it in some way. Heck, when the chorus for ‘Tough On You’ kicked in, we screamed “YEAHHHHH” and started jumping around the room! Some people might accuse Don Broco of going too poppy and becoming more generic but they couldn’t be more wrong. Don Broco have managed to merge pop, rock, funk and just generaly sexy vibes all into one. It’s a subtle cross-over of so many things that have merged to bring genuine joy to it’s listeners. How is every song so unbelievably catchy!?
We do have one issue though – we wish there was more of this album because we just can’t get enough! It is flawless. We’ve tried to look for negatives with it but honestly, we can’t find any. It’s less rocky and heavy hitting than previous releases, sure. But this Automatic just feels like they’ve let more of that Don Broco animal out. It’s got the Club Sex alter ego subtly hidden underneath throughout, that smugness with a little bit of swag and just all that ridiculous amount of energy you expect from this band. Don Broco haven’t just written a great pop/rock/funk/whatever it is – face it, they’re the only band that sound like this or at least the only band who can pull it off so well – but they’ve also produced a songwriting masterclass. Automatic has opened up so many senses and emotions to our listening experience that have previously been undiscovered. And we think that it will open up all sorts of doors for Don Broco. They deserve it. This is something special. Really.