The New Zealand-born Broods have put out their self-titled debut EP following the release of their single Bridges, which was met with acclaim in late 2013. And that single is included on Broods, a set of songs inducing the kind of dark contemplation alluded to in the group’s name and at the same time omitting the kind of danceable energy that’s seemingly required for the mainstream success of most pop songs these days.
Along with their national heritage, Broods have their producer, Joel Little, in common with Lorde – 2013’s success story. The demand to sign the group also seems to leave them similarly placed to push deeper New Zealand’s pin in the musical world map (even if Grammy organisers, in announcing Lorde as a live performance at their recent show, didn’t seem to recognise that NZ is a separate country to Australia). It’ll therefore perhaps be impossible for Broods to elude comparison to their Kiwi counterpart, but whilst elements of their sound seem to line up – a melodic playfulness, a peculiarly modern ethereality – Broods are definitely their own kind of beast.
Yet unmentioned is the fact that the Broods are a brother-sister duo – consisting of Georgia and Caleb Nott. Apart from perhaps making band practices easier to organise, the fact they are siblings perhaps contributes to their musical cohesiveness – vocal lines intertwine seamlessly as the atmosphere around them expands and contracts, never jarring.
They cover good ground too – beginning with the reflective opener Never Gonna Change, simultaneously downbeat and upbeat, the EP then moves somewhat more towards an anthemic kind of pop with the following track Pretty Thing. The next track – the single, Bridges – moves between a subdued piano pop kind of feel and a vehement chorus: ‘And we’re burning all the bridges, burning all the bridges now’. Sleep Baby Sleep is gentle for the most part, and its downcast melodic strength makes it my favourite track in the collection. The natural-sounding, folky guitar that opens Taking You There takes one by surprise given the track’s more electronic predecessors, but leads into a beautifully languid piece of songwriting. The EP closes strongly with Coattails – a bit more boisterous, but still with the perpetual ‘broodiness’ that the pair maintain, its chorus melody is, I reckon, the hookiest part of the album.
Broods are rising up as a powerful new force from Down Under (further down under than Australia though – take note, Grammys). Their debut demands attention.