After it was released in August in the brother-sister duo’s homeland, debut album ‘Evergreen’ from Broods has quietly been released in the UK this week with next to no fanfare. It’s a shame: this is an album that absolutely should not fall under your radar.
There’s an obvious comparison with Lorde. Both artists are from New Zealand, share songwriter Joel Little, and have an intangible sense of teenage cool. Sonically, their music consists of big beats and deep bass, but where Lorde’s music is stark and percussive, Broods focus on melody and dreamy atmospherics. The beats are sparse, the synths are as brooding as the duo’s name suggests, and the lyrics ache with teenage melancholy. And whilst Lorde drifts into punk-rock on occasion, Broods’ edginess comes from the production rather than the lyrics.
Take Bridges and Never Gonna Change, for example. Both featured on the duo’s previously released self-titled EP, the former pulsing beneath ethereal vocals, the latter a break-up song wrapped up in moody, downbeat production. This style remains consistent across ‘Evergreen’, on tracks like the melodramatic ballad Killing You with its chorus of “it’s killing me and it’s killing you”. Later, Medicine slowly and hauntingly unfurls, whilst Four Walls is a typical ballad heightened by its clattering beat and lyrics of teenage angst (“I wanna make you feel how I feel when I’m listening to love songs”). The duo embrace their youth in their lyrics and pair it with a modern sensibility that’s irresistible.
Whilst they do wallow in misery a little too often, there are plenty of upbeat tracks. Everytime has a deep, menacing bass and aggressive chorus; the syncopated hand-claps of L.A.F make it the most rhythmically interesting track; Sober drifts into deep house; and the title track is a big soaring anthem that typifies their style. The album ends with Superstar, a track that’s great in its own right but is a little too obviously influenced by Lorde.
The best track, though, is opener Mother & Father, also previously released. It matches the duo’s penchant for melancholy (here a meditation on life on the road) with a lighter electro-pop sensibility, the yearning chorus lyric “I don’t wanna wake up lonely, I don’t wanna just be fine” capturing their uncertain future. It’s a future that’s bright and, with tracks like this, deserves to be noticed.
* Mother & Father
* Never Gonna Change
Listen: 'Evergreen' is available now.