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Review: “Double Vanity” – BRONCHO

Courtesy of Dine Alone Records

Courtesy of Dine Alone Records

On paper, the Norman, Okla.-based band BRONCHO are frequently dubbed “garage pop.” But when you consider the cavernous sound they cultivated for their third LP, Double Vanity, “warehouse pop” might be the better description.

In fact, Double Vanity was recorded in a warehouse. But man, I’ll be damned if a warehouse has ever sounded sexier.

The album comes on the heels of their 2014 breakout record, Just Enough Hip To Be Woman, which was an alarmingly catchy and upbeat slice of pop rock. It set the stage for everything to love about the band, from the wordless hook of “Class Historian” to the underage sleeze of “NC-17.”

Trading in foot tapping frenectism for dirge-paced rhythms, Double Vanity is a thick and lusty album. Album opener “All Time” puts it all out there for the listener: glacial tempos, pulsing drums and bass, dragging guitar lines and leery eyed vocals. It may not sound like much when written out like that, but the pleasing effects are almost immediate.

The formula is, arguably, perfected on the second track, “Fantasy Boys.” An easy contender for best song of the year (at least to this point), vocalist Ryan Lindsey oozes a brand of dive dar sultriness that is ensconced in the orange-and-purple haze generated by Ben King’s guitars. The words “I wanna drop your name” seem to just slink out of Lindsey’s mouth with utter sincerity. A more romantic sentiment has not been put to tape this year.

The quirk that could most easily got on people’s bad side is Lindsey’s unwillingness to sing clearly. Half the time you cannot understand what he is saying and the other half, he renders words practically indecipherable. “Fantasy boys,” for instance, is transmuted to something resembling “fanacy boeys.” But while it may not be for everybody, it is hard to deny that the vocals give BRONCHO a distinctive quality that keeps you coming back. Lindsey has said he sings like this so that people can put their own emotions and feelings over the melodies and, while certainly a bold concept, it seems to work here.

Lindsey’s total disinterest in diction may not be for everyone, but Double Vanity’s huge soundscapes, gorgeous melodies, and incomparable ability to generate an atmosphoere make it among the year’s most unique and very best albums.

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