According to U.K. rock outfit Don Broco, the process behind writing and recording their upcoming fourth album, Amazing Things, was motivated by a singular desire.
“We kept it pretty open, but the only thing we said we wanted to do, because it’s just where our musical palette was at the time, is that we just wanted to keep it heavy,” says lead vocalist and frontman Rob Damiani. “That was literally the only real blueprint, which is such a broad thing to even say, because what is heavy music these days? It could be thrash metal; it could be trap music. As long as it feels like it’s hitting you in some way. It could be aggressive, or it could be heavy in a more meaningful and emotional way.”
After the runaway success of their third studio album, 2018’s Technology, the Bedford quartet knew they had a winning formula on their hands. That record’s release featured no less than eight monster singles, with each track offering up thick, down-tuned rock riffage, stadium-ready choruses, tongue-in-cheek lyricism, and a music video aesthetic soaked in ‘millennial meme surrealism.’ As Damiani explains, the trick for LP number four became capturing that spirit of innovation while also avoiding the pitfalls of repetition.
“We loved [Technology] on record, but then playing it live as well, it became some of the most fulfilling tours we’d ever played,” he says. “So, we definitely wanted to hold on to that. Every time we felt like we were re-treading ground on old, past material, even from Technology—because it’s very easy to be in your comfort zone—if it sounded too similar, or didn’t get our juices going, or didn’t feel like it was pushing us forward, we’d either scrap it or put it to one side, try to give it a new lease of life, and approach it in a different way.”
Raucous lead single “Manchester Super Reds No.1 Fan” sports rapid-fire, shouted verses from Damiani that recall the angsty party vibes of The Beastie Boys, while also maintaining a stylistic verve that’s become quintessentially Don Broco.
“The thing that sets it apart from some of our previous records is that the vocals just feel a lot more aggressive, and that makes it feel a lot heavier than it actually is,” says Damiani. “I’ve definitely shied away from aggressive vocals before because one of the things is, as a band, but also me personally, we’ve always wanted to carve our own path. And I think within heavy music, and rock music especially, it’s so easy to shout over stuff. But then there’s obviously those moments where you hear a riff, or some moment in a song where an aggressive vocal just punctuates it and elevates it to this new place.”
Other tracks on Amazing Things, like stomping ragers “Uber” and “Bruce Willis,” atmospheric mood piece “One True Prince,” and infectious album opener “Gumshield” expand the group’s amorphous approach to modern, alternative rock, bolstered by soaring pop hooks from drummer and co-lead vocalist Matt Donnelly, alongside a slew of sonic influences, ranging from Deftones to fellow countrymen Bring Me The Horizon.
However, embracing this need for invention didn’t just apply to the instrumentation on the new album.
“From a lyrical perspective as well, there are themes where I’m a lot angrier on this record than then I’ve been on other records,” says Damiani. “I’ve never set out to be a social commentator or even a political commentator. I only write about things that are just going on in my own head because I feel like that’s the way of telling my truth, my side of it. At least it’s going to come from the heart for me, and I’m confident in my feelings in regard to those topics. So, they feel like the things that I can shout about with the most conviction, and it just so turned out that these are the songs that ended up forming the record.”
With their upcoming release, the question of the album’s title comes full circle. After all, in a world where most news is often just bad news, is there still room for Amazing Things in 2021?
“I think with the year that we had, for me, the album was about exploring coping mechanisms,” says Damiani. “It sums up the album in a pat-on-the-back way. We’ve done something amazing. We create these amazing songs, but it also gave me hope for the world, in the sense that, despite this terrible year, people still can do incredible, amazing things.”
Watch the video for “One True Prince” here:
For more from Don Broco, check out their official website.
Photo courtesy of Don Broco and Fraser Taylor