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Every Kiwi band faces an age old challenge, and a fairly new one. For Broods, separating themselves from being just another homeland-only success story was fairly easy, and it took them barely a few months to step out of the over-hanging shadow of Lorde. On their second album; Conscious, they take their trademark sound and expand upon it, creating a glorious second coming that solidifies their place in the pop music realm.
With production from their longtime collaborator Joel Little, Alex Hope, and the duo themselves, the group had complete control over the album creation process as vocalist Georgia Nott says. With that control, they moved away from the lowkey, sparse sounds of their debut; Evergreen – which was focused solidly on ballads and the occasional big chorus, and achieved a more positive sound and lyrical viewpoint.
On Conscious, it’s clear from the opening track and lead single that Broods are back with a vengeance. Free showcases Georgia’s vocal like never before, centered around a thundering industrial line and looped vocal. The message of the song is one of defiance and control, and this follows throughout the entire album.
Whilst there are ballads on this album, they no longer follow that same rhythm and route of those on Evergreen, they’re not all one and the same, but each gives the listener a new layer, a new vocal style. Heartlines takes the lyrical quality and beauty that has always been in their music, and adds a layer of their newfound confidence. However this confidence is not without fault, in moments like All Of Your Glory, which brings the album to a near grinding halt in between some of their best work.
Vocally, the album is miles from the quiet, almost shy songs from Evergreen. Freak Of Nature – a collaboration with Tove Lo – has incredible melodies and a middle eight stronger than any other on the album. A standout track, the two voices work well together, playing off one another throughout in a game of vocal acrobatics, until they reach a peak in the final chorus.
The album’s full greatness is realised in two songs: Recovery and Couldn’t Believe. Both of these songs are the epitome of the term pop banger. Recovery follows the perfect formula; slow verse, catchy bridge, killer chorus, and the perfect middle eight. It’s the perfect single. The same could be said of Couldn’t Believe too. It doesn’t follow the formula like Recovery, but it’s chorus is so catchy that it is still a certified banger.
Ending on the title-track, the album closes on the haunting distorted line “Wake me up and keep me conscious”. After such an impressive album full of memorable moments and catchy lyrics, it’s hard to believe that the final line is what will stick with you, but it definitely is what you’ll be left repeating for hours after just one listen. Bringing together all the elements that make this album so unique and so incredible, the track closes out the album and leaves it as a well rounded piece of work.
Conscious is proof Broods are worthy of their increasingly lofty position in the music industry, and a taste of what is to come in their career. In a crowd of artists repeating the same tricks, they are one of the few who take what they are good at and continue to expand and adapt. On Conscious this is more clear than ever and it leaves it mark as one of the most compelling and exciting listens of 2016 so far.