30 June 2014
Opening track ‘Tonitro’ lays the foundations of Brontide’s latest album nicely – a heavy, chugging guitar drops in and out over a sparse bassline and some rather disconcerting baby noises provide the album’s only vocals. It’s already apparent, less than five minutes into the album, that this isn’t going to be a bore-fest of nondescript background music – the tried-and-tested structure of verses and choruses is cast aside in favour of unexpected changes in rhythm.
It’s not just one big power-chord fest, either. ‘Kith and Kin’ opens with a twinkly, lo-fi guitar melody that wouldn’t sound out of place on an Editors album. For those adverse to indie, don’t let that put you off. It’s got a nice, bright ambience to it that evokes images of warm sunsets and summer evening inebriation – perfect to soundtrack the plethora of barbecues that will undoubtedly be taking place now the weather’s taken a turn for the better. Whether that was what Brontide had in mind when the penned the album is debatable, though.
‘Cabin’ takes a turn for the wistful with its delicate refrain, and the chorus has a satisfyingly driving beat that almost invites you to add your own vocals over the top. A few repeated lines about a failed relationship or lost love would fit the mood.
If there’s one thing that can be said for Brontide, it’s that their sound is most certainly emotive. ‘Still Life’ is the one that’ll take you right through to the end of the night when the sun has sunk and everyone’s gone to bed, bleary eyed and slightly tipsy. It’s easy to zone out without a story being told through words, but by switching up the tempo more times than the guitarist has probably had blisters on his fingers, there’s no danger of tuning out completely.
It’s just a shame then that the one thing Brontide don’t manage to do is stop one song blending into the next. Artery is by no means dull, but does it fall just short of being heart-stopping.
Sounds Like: The love child of Incubus and Interpol, if they’d been fans of At The Drive-In.
Standout Tracks: Cabin, Still Life, Red Gold.