Album Review of Conscious by Broods.
Release Date: Jun 24, 2016
Record label: Island
Genre(s): Pop, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, Alternative Dance, Left-Field Pop
Broods’ “Free” begins with a wail trapped inside a room it detests. Mementos of a decaying love litter the floor; the shelves are filled with torn-up photographs of a fading time. “I’d lose everything so I can sing / Hallelujah, I’m free,” Georgia Nott belts, her voice not in tatters but rather eager to tear into something, into someone.
Defiantly proclaiming "I'd lose everything so I can sing," Georgia Nott opens Broods' sophomore album, Conscious, with a bang. As the tribal drums kick in, synths droning with a menacing determination, it's clear that this effort is a huge evolution for the sibling duo of Georgia and Caleb Nott. Released two years after their introspective breakthrough debut, Conscious elevates the pair from the electro-indie sidelines occupied by Vaults and MisterWives and into major-player Chvrches territory.
Following the whirlwind that Broods’ ‘Evergreen’ sent them on, the duo have knuckled down and created a follow-up without fear. ‘Conscious’ sees the pair untethered, unafraid and utterly in control. From the opening declaration of ‘Free’, all lofty ambition and twitching confession, the band make good on their promise. Reflecting on the past and tumbling forward with lessons learnt, Broods’ second record is full of big, heartfelt pop songs.
New Zealand brother-sister duo Broods explore new, stadium-oriented synth-pop territory on their second full-length release Conscious, but those explorations don't necessarily translate as an innovative approach to the genre. Conscious has a beefier sonic approach than 2014's Evergreen. It's replete with walls of sound, built up with pastiches of '80s power ballads, but for an album aiming at a grandiose sound, there's a disappointing failure to shake listeners awake and captivate them with memorable moments.
“Conscious,” Broods Armed to the teeth with surging synths, massive hooks, breathless vocals, and devastatingly blunt lyricism, Broods’ 2014 record, “Evergreen,” sounded more like the work of a seasoned outfit than that of two Kiwi siblings — Georgia and Caleb Nott, 20 and 22 at the time of its release, respectively — crafting their first LP. On tracks like the woozy, heartsick confessional “Sober” and pulsating kiss-off “Bridges,” Broods didn’t just seem to know their way around the studio; they felt exceedingly assured as a creative entity. It’s both surprising and disappointing, then, to see long-in-the-works follow-up “Conscious” bring the pair further into the mainstream electropop fold, and away from the chilly, ethereal darkness of their debut.