Taking a step away from their punk roots, the Tulsa, Okla.-based rock group Broncho returned Oct. 12 with a new album keyed to a more indie-pop sound that a broader audience may find appealing.
Unfortunately, this also means they lose a lot of any more interesting structure in favor of easily followable songs – in this case, borderline nauseatingly repetitive.
The album’s first track “All Choked Up” introduces the reverb-drenched sound that continues throughout the remainder of the "Bad Behavior" album. Frontman Ryan Lindsey’s vocal delivery style is also introduced: a slightly strange enunciation with a nasally quality that makes it almost alien-like.
His voice proves to be one of the only elements that differentiates them from any other indie rock band, yet the actual melody he sings is often hanging on one note and gives no respite where actual creativity could come into play.
The second song, “Weekend,” is the only song with a noticeable bridge, straying from the verse-chorus form of every other track which provides a brief break from the monotony of the instrumentals and main melody. This song would be better fixed in the middle of the album to keep someone listening, but its placement in the near beginning makes all the rest of the tracks even more boring in comparison.
Lyrically, the songs don’t appear very developed – often hooks rely upon the “ooh” and “ah” tropes with no real words. Occasionally the lyrics are humorous – such is the case for the track “Family Values” where Lindsey sings, “I got a thing for your mother, I got a thing to teach your father,” which emphasizes the title of the album "Bad Behavior."
The thing about this release is that it isn’t bad per say, but nothing about it stands out. It’s the Bandcamp indie standard – little substance, but catchy enough to garner a fanbase.
If asked to pick this album out of a lineup, one may not be able to determine who made this album as it ticks a lot of boxes for generic pop rock from the reverb, to the repetitiveness, to the vague yet occasionally funny lyrics. The entire package seems polished, but without great songwriting, any impact is lost.
Abandoning their punk roots not only makes fans estranged to this new sound, but the direction they take lacks all ambition. Everything has been toned down this time around, even including Lindsey’s voice with his erratic delivery style.
The guitar tones are cleaner and his vocals are more intelligible with greater production value overall, but the sacrifice of songwriting to please a broader audience just makes them fade into the background. Had there been a happy medium of old and new styles, this album could have possibly been saved from its lackluster final product.
There are points where one may really want to get into the album. It seems to have it all: the uptempo songs, the idiosyncratic singing (that admittedly does occasionally distract from the unvaried melody), the fun textures, and the ability to sing along due to its simplicity.
An argument can be made that its aforementioned simplicity can be as asset without the showy style many other bands use. But in this case, the songs tend to find themselves being similar to each other, blending together as if the members somehow lost any imagination while writing them and with especially uninspiring arrangements.
While pleasant as background music, any more focused and attentive listener will experience boredom about three songs into the album.