Broods’ “Conscious” Shows Duo’s Steady Growth

8 Sep

New Zealand’s Broods exploded onto the music scene worldwide in 2014 with the release of their debut album, Evergreen. The brother-sister duo of Georgia and Caleb Nott turned quite a few heads with their fresh, uplifting electro-pop. Produced by Lorde’s Joel Little, the album debuted at #1 in New Zealand and was recognized as one of the top CDs of the year, along with Lorde’s Pure Heroine and The Naked and Famous’ In Rolling Waves.

So needless to say, expectations were quite high for the duo’s follow-up, Conscious. And while the consensus of critical reviews is that little new ground has necessarily been broken, the album offers another strong collection of memorable electro-pop standouts with lyrics that examine the pressures of building and nourishing relationships today.

Like Scotland’s Chvrches, Broods doesn’t use its synths to paint gauzy portraits or ethereal visions. Rather, the album features mesmerizing beats and big anthemic arrangements that would play well in club or stadium. Georgia Nott’s vocals are remarkably powerful without the angst or edginess common with many female vocalists in this genre.

Conscious starts with “Free,” a song that does represent a major step forward for the duo with its stunning declaration of feminist freedom. “I’d lose everything so I can sing/Hallelujah, I’m free, I’m free, I’m free, I’m free, I’m free.” The pumping, growling synths and rhythms slap the listener into consciousness — setting the stage for the album’s theme of self-awareness and self-actualization.

The next song, “We Had Everything,” is an upbeat finger-snapping pop track that has a very catchy chorus celebrating the optimism of youth. “We were young, we were proud, we were promising/We were hiding our innocence/We had time, we had love, we had everything/We had everything.”

No review of the album could omit the first track on which Broods and Lorde have actually collaborated. According to an article in Rolling Stone Australia, “Heartlines” was jointly written and demoed while the band and Lorde were in Auckland at the same time for a day.

The sixth track on the album is “Freak of Nature.” Featuring vocals by Tove Lo, the song focuses on the issue of mental illness and how people afflicted with it are often viewed by others as being weak or unwilling to change.

One of the most “up” tracks on the album is “Couldn’t Believe.” In the same article in Rolling Stone Australia, Georgia Nott explains that she wrote the song about the night she got engaged and how she felt at that moment. Once you know the subject matter, the pounding drums, angelic chorus and skittering electronic beat will send chills down your spine.

All in all, Conscious is a very good sophomore release from a duo that shows the promise of still having much room for future growth.

 

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