Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Review: The Broonies - In Love Again

I feel like Indiana Jones when I look for music. No, no large boulders are going to chase me out of some temple, and I doubt a guys going to try and rip my heart out, but there's an unmistakable sense of adventure as you seek the dungeons and catacombs of the internet for new bands to listen to. Sometimes you find something so secretive and entrenched in its own microcosm that you feel like you've won the god damn musical lottery. In Love Again, by The Broonies, is one such album.

Hailing from San Francisco, The Broonies are the text book definition of low-fi garage punk. Bad levels and barely recognizable vocals are very present throughout, and yet it works for what they probably are: A hometown band who plays basement and living room shows for other local bands and friends. When exploring the bands story, I found almost nothing aside from some random youtube videos, which lead me to this very conclusion. Not every band needs to tour the country and make a ton of merch to be appreciated. All you need is find them online.

"Kidnapper Van" and "I Ain't Mad At Ya, Honey" are the quintessential songs that define who these guys are, in a nut-shell. Quick, with tinny guitar riffs that are probably only played with 2 chords, they ooze a sense of fun that reinforces the idea they're not doing this for anyone but themselves. They probably enjoy playing in front of fans and friends, but when the production value is so minimalist, it scatters any idea that they want to become famous. At least not nationally.

They go a little surf-rock occasionally, with tracks like "10 Speed" and "Workin' Hard". They're a nice deviation from the rest of the garage rock songs on the album, but only "Workin' Hard", for lack of a better phrase, really works here. It's clear these guys are more into their up tempo punk-like stuff, but at least they try to vary their sound. It's something they can work on in the future, if these are even still together in the first place. 

"Deli Girl" and "Villain" round out the album with a little more aggression to them, shifting themselves into the punk direction permanently. None of the tracks on the album opt for any fancy notions about what they are, staying rooted in a sense of humility. A lot of people feel the need to overdo what they do because they feel they're simple in the first place, but whether it derives from laziness, or a genuine understanding of music, The Broonies show a great capability of making entertaining music here.

In Love Again retains a fun vibe throughout most the album, and while there are some bumps along the way, nothing shakes the enjoyable foundation built early on in the album. It'd be nice if these guys did more shows, or ventured out of their comfortable California confines (Maybe they have, maybe this is a re-release and they're touring the countryside right now.....but I doubt it), but there's a merit to staying hometown heroes. It makes an album like this stronger and forces you to see, if you're in their area, if they're playing a show. It might take you some time to discover them, but it's worth the adventure. - Shane

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