LIVE REVIEW: Broods, Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, 22/07/14

Fun fact: New Zealand brother-sister duo Broods are destined for great things. That much is obvious from watching them live, though you’d expect that when they share Lorde’s songwriting partner Joel Little. With their haunting synths, processed beats and sense of teenage cool, they’re set to be the biggest Kiwi export since Gollum (who only really had the last of those, anyway).

A live setting – tonight, Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen – certainly brings a new dynamic to their music.  The simple addition of live drums adds huge rhythmic weight to tracks like the chilling Never Gonna Change, bloggers’ favourite Bridges and the very Lorde-esque Coattails, turning them from moody meditations to punchy pop tracks.

The same could be said of the excellent new single Mother And Father (“That song makes us miss home but you guys make us feel welcome”) that resembles Chvrches in its immediate pop appeal. Taking You There, meanwhile, features acoustic guitar from Caleb (swoon) that offered a folkier feel to their sound.

It’s Georgia’s vocal that really surprises, though.  On record, her hushed falsetto has an ethereal quality that’s somewhat obliterated by the powerful and husky live performance.  Halfway through the set she performs “a love song”, accompanying herself on keys. It’s essentially a catalyst to let loose vocally and emotionally, her voice cracking as she sings: “I’m trying hard to make you love me… I’m falling at the hand of a perfect man”.  By contrast, the bigger production numbers tend to swamp her voice with unnecessary backing vocals – it’s clear that her impassioned singing ought to be the real focus of Broods’ music.

Although the set revolved around the self-titled EP released earlier this year, the duo also played tracks from their forthcoming album Evergreen – nothing to do with Will Young, sadly – including a stomping dance cut full of syncopated rhythms (described as “loose as fuck” – sure), and the slow-building title track with its anthemic chorus. They round off a night that fully showcases what to expect from Broods, and one that irrevocably places them as the pop breakthrough of the year.

Ed Nightingale

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Broods at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, London
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