Well, it’s not punchy. A Deeper Understanding, the new full-length from The War On Drugs …
In Bizarro World, Double Vanity would be the jock rock anthem to an extreme sports competition. In this world, Clark Kent is still a mild-mannered reporter, and Oklahoma-based indie rock band Broncho’s third release is destined for repeated play in opium dens around the world. Elements of punk and dream-pop intertwine to befuddle the senses, and driving, steady beats keep the listener grounded in the Earth we all know and sometimes love. Songs “All Time,” “Fantasy Boys” and “I Know You” would be a dangerous soundtrack for a long drive, taking the spacier sound to its extreme. (I accidentally left their single “Fantasy Boys” on repeat while cleaning my house and was left to wonder if the tingling in my chest was the unsurprising onset of synesthesia or reason for a trip to the doctor).
Once you get halfway through the album, into “Jenny Loves Jenae” and “Señora Borealis,” you’ve got yourself into the kind of indie/punk rock territory that would carry you through the first leg of any good road trip. Snarky, and at times, disconcertingly sexy vocals from Ryan Lindsay tie in the angst that fans of the first two albums might be seeking from Double Vanity.
The record is an extremely mellow and somewhat more complex follow up to their sophomore release, Just Enough Hip to Be Woman from 2014. It’s hard to imagine how Ryan Lindsey, Nathan Price, Ben King, and Penny Pitchlynn found time to record a third album after seeing moderate commercial success when multiple songs were picked up for use by HBO, Cartoon Network and Kate Hudson’s clothing brand.
Broncho has graduated from the more simple, angst-driven rock of their first album, Can’t Get Past The Lips, to a subtle dance between spacey, dreamy and dark. They are still true to their indie-rock roots and carry punk elements into Double Vanity, but it’s clear that the quartet is maturing as the world takes notice. You know what they say, “Is big crime to make anything perfect in Bizarro World!” but Double Vanity is a step in the right, err, wrong direction. »
– Stephanie Scelza
*Broncho plays Portland’s Mississippi Studios on June 9. Tickets here.