I got my hands on an early copy of Technology, the highly anticipated third album from boisterous alternative rock ensemble Don Broco. With 2017 seeing the Bedford born four-piece sell out a headline show at iconic London venue Alexandra Palace, and this February boasting a UK tour dropping into many respectable regional venues on their travels, followed by spate of North American shows and supporting Our Last Night across the pond, this year is set to take them from strength to strength. Despite their last album receiving some ‘mainstream’ (at the risk of sounding arrogant) air-play and introducing perhaps more pop-inclined listeners to their work, Don Broco did not shy away from experimenting with heavier, punk-influenced sounds with Technology. The album is interwoven with sounds reminiscent of the bands they credit for the member’s introduction, such as Glassjaw and Biffy Clyro.
Technology has clear and unapologetic political themes, doubling as a manifesto which expresses lyrical opinions on the highly contentious contemporary cultural climate, touching on Brexit, Trump and the ever-encroaching normalcy of corporations invading privacy. The first and titular track on the album introduces the unashamed defiance of the entire LP, with the high production value that we have come to expect from Don Broco following their previous two projects. It succeeds at initiating the next 50 minutes of relentless alternative anthemic sounds, with many tracks employing the distinctly Don Broco quirk; a juxtaposition of intense grunge guitar riffs followed by frontman, Rob Damiani, employing soft melodic style to the vocals. This trope is employed excellently in ‘T-Shirt Song’, the track standing out as a personal highlight. The diversity of styles displayed in 4:03 minutes whilst still retaining cohesivity makes for a satisfying aural experience.
The inventive production has revealed a new side to the band’s personality, their proclamation that “for this record we didn’t set any rules, it just had to feel good”, resonates throughout with the creativity displayed. Allowing for tracks such as ‘Pretty’ and ‘Good Listener’, which demonstrate their ability to not take themselves too seriously and still have fun, incorporating the smoothest lyrical use of “chilli con carne” I have ever encountered. ‘Come Out To LA’ perfectly expresses a very dry British impression of their Los Angeles experience, providing a sarcasm driven commentary of the music industry and its façade of glamour.
Don Broco’s answer to a slow tempo love ballad can be found in ‘Got To Be You’, with Damiani’s vocals drenched with emotion coupled with swelling background orchestration, exploring the darker elements of romantic relationships. The fluctuation of his vocal stylings from the more polished ‘Automatic’ album unto the rawer sound found on this project, demonstrate the band’s ability to successfully dabble in genres and remain diverse.
Although I would not advise Technology as an introductory album to Don Broco – their earlier works are certainly more palatable to a new listener – this high-energy album is set to translate perfectly live, with its production geared toward their interactive performances. I am excited to watch them conquer the ever-growing stages they are set to frequent.