Don Broco’s debut album, ‘Priorities’, is one of the best albums of all time. After it was released back in 2012, I listened to nothing else for the following year – I absolutely fell in love with it. So I hoped exactly the same thing would happen with ‘Automatic’.
The first three songs – ‘Superlove’, ‘Automatic’ and ‘What You Do To Me’ – already have videos, so I’ve already had the chance to listen to them all lots and they’ve all grown on me. The first time I heard ‘Superlove’ I absolutely hated it: the over the top high-pitch vocal, the constant repetition… The song just completely grated on my nerves, but it slowly started to annoy me less. I liked ‘Automatic’ when I first heard it then completely despised the video that accompanied the song, but I’ve loved ‘What You Do To Me’ since day one.
I’d heard ‘Fire’ once before and really disliked it – the ‘nanana’ section is so cliched and overused that it’s completely obsolete at this point in time, so using it in a pop song in 2015 felt like a ridiculous choice. Listening back to it now, it still feels as though there’s a disconnect somewhere: the first verse is beautifully produced, but the chorus just falls flat and leaves the whole song feeling uncomfortable. With that being said, even hearing it another two times to write this review means that I’ve started to enjoy it more – I think that if you ask me again in a year or two, this album will be one of my favourites; I’m just being super hard on it because it’s only just been released.
The same cannot be said for ‘Nerve’. A slower choice for Don Broco, it definitely stands out from the other songs in their back catalogue. The falsetto chorus is a more natural choice and makes more sense than it did in ‘Superlove’, and this might be the first song on the album that feels like Don Broco but still embodies a strong step forward. If you asked me to choose one word to describe the band’s music it would have to be sexy, and ‘Nerve’ embodies that sentiment perfectly. The song is extremely summery, being the most anthemic song the band have ever released, and I can imagine it going down brilliantly with the crowd at Reading festival in two weeks time.
‘Let You Get Away’ reminds me strongly of another song – I can’t quite put my finger on what though. It just feels like I’ve heard it somewhere before, so it’s not the most unique song. However, using “oh my days” as a lyric is something I definitely haven’t encountered before, so the band get extra bro-points for that one. Feels like someone needs to get the Cheeky Nandos in…
As soon as ‘I Got Sick’ starts it cements itself as the most rock-centered song on ‘Automatic’, which is definitely leaning more towards a pop album on the whole. The riff that kicks the song off is extremely catchy and gets stuck in your head automatically (‘scuse the pun). The lyrics might be a little more than creepy (“if you buy some new shoes, when you buy some new clothes I got to know. When you’re watching your TV or your favourite movie I got to know”) but that means that this song stands out lyrically on the album as well as musically, even if it’s not for the best reason…
‘Keep On Pushing’ feels like an ode to the push up squad, but it doesn’t really go anywhere… It feels as though the start of the song is just repeated constantly throughout, and while that works with dance music it just falls really flat on pop-rock, meaning that this is the most disappointing song in the collection. If they’d put more of a dance background with it, it may have felt more cohesive – sadly, that was not the case.
I absolutely love ‘Tough On You’ already. It’s one of the heavier songs but it’s definitely one you can dance and sing along to, making it feel like one of the only fully-rounded inclusions. ‘Further’ is very similar: both songs feel more like older Don Broco, so it means that this album should appeal to brand new fans and older fans. The band have changed quite drastically over the last three years, but there are still features from their previous songs so they haven’t abandoned their roots. ‘Further’ has a sound of folk music (just listen to it, and you’ll understand what I mean) so it definitely stands out – it feels like an extremely triumphant closing track from the album, and this collection of songs definitely finishes off stronger than it starts. I love the dual vocal between drummer Matt Donnelly and singer Rob Damiani on this final song, as it really feels like a collaborative effort instead of just Matt performing backing vocals.
For the deluxe songs on the album, two of them are already rather well-loved, the other two are brand new tracks. I loved ‘Money Power Fame’ when I first heard it at Reading festival last year, but since realising that it fitted almost perfectly with Lower Than Atlantis’ ‘Here We Go’, I’ve definitely ruined the song for myself. It still deserved to be included on the new album though, so I was glad they chose to put it on – even if it is only on the deluxe edition.
‘Bad Feeling’ kind of feels like a strange ode to Vampire Weekend or the Mystery Jets – it’s much more indie than the other Don Broco songs, and it’s a huge leap across genres. It’s interesting to hear the band trying something that is so completely different, but it just feels so odd. If Don Broco decided to do more indie music in the future I wouldn’t be opposed to it, but this isn’t the best sound that they’ve ever made.
I’m surprised ‘Wrong Place Wrong Time’ didn’t make it on to the normal version of the album, because the frenetic, speedy sound will definitely appeal to fans. It’s one of the catchier songs from ‘Automatic’ and it’s definitely one that will get people moving: the backing track takes an almost dubstep turn in the middle, which is intriguing, and – again – it’s a hugely different sound. The deluxe tracks definitely seem like the place where Don Broco took the most time to experiment with what they were doing, and I love the results.
I’m so happy that ‘You Wanna Know’ made it on to the deluxe edition of this album, because it is two years old at this point. Since the first time I heard it, I’ve always thought of it as part two of ‘Whole Truth’, and it definitely feels like a huge nod to the success of ‘Priorities’, that this song wraps up the new album.
This year, there have been many albums that I’ve been excited about that have completely disappointed me, so I’m glad that ‘Automatic’ was such a varied bunch of songs. I’m already in love with some of these tunes, and I’m sure that the rest of them are going to grow on me – especially after seeing them live, because Don Broco are a band that are much, much better in a live environment. I’m glad that they’ve tried to do something a bit different and it’s definitely working out for them – in the mid-week chart update this album was already at number three, so hopefully it’s going to be an extremely high charter for the lads. They definitely deserve this success, because they’re an extremely hard-working band, and I still love them to pieces.
What You Do To Me
Let You Get Away
I Got Sick
Keep On Pushing
Tough On You