Alternative rock band Don Broco dropped their sophomore album Automatic at the start of the month in an attempt to transform their sound from O2 Academy 2s to arenas around the UK. The band took almost three years between debut LP Priorities and the new release, stating that the reason behind this was to write as many songs as possible before narrowing down the final ten (or fourteen if you own the deluxe edition). This allowed them to pick and choose their best work rather than produce every song they wrote as they previously had done. While this work ethic is admirable, does is ultimately pay off?
Superlove and Automatic, the first two tracks on the album, are also two of the best. Don Broco’s memorable sound from Priorities is refined, becoming more professional and bold. Evidently, the feedback from their first album hasn’t gone unnoticed. Most albums typically feature two to four standout singles; however Automatic is full of iconic tracks that would all make excellent stand-alone releases, while there are only a few songs that fall short of the band’s high standard.
What You Do To Me, Nerve and Let You Get Away are all impressive tracks with choruses destined to be chanted by a large audience. The only fault is that sometimes the verses a lost in the anticipation of the following chorus. Despite this, the songs are a definite step up from Priorities.
Unfortunately, Keep On Pushing guides the album into a ditch. Its monotonous beat forms a sluggish regression and even when Tough On You starts it’s hard to forget that Don Broco just let themselves down hugely. What makes this an even larger disappointment is that all of the bonus tracks on the deluxe edition firmly deserve to be on the standard album. They all have punch and passion, sounding as though they were written with ease as riffs, drum patterns and vocal melodies intertwine effortlessly. These four tracks include the already loved Money Power Fame as well as Bad Feeling, Wrong Place Wrong Time and previously released You Wanna Know.
Closing the standard edition of Automatic, Further somewhat redeems the mishap only two tracks before. The tone is conclusive while remaining anthem-like thanks to Matt Donnelley’s backing vocals; this one is set to be a crowd-pleaser.
Drowned In Sound gave the album 4⁄10, insinuating that Don Broco’s sound blended in with a million other alternative rock bands and The Guardian were harsher than that granting the album a mere two stars out of a potential five. Personally, I think Don Broco deserve way more credit. Rob Damiani’s vocals cannot be mistaken with any other lead singer’s in the genre; his uniqueness is an asset to the band’s sound. With guitar riffs that would make You Me At Six proud and the personal spin found in the lyrics, Don Broco have managed to create anthems that don’t sound like cold, corporate creations – a commendable success.