BROODS: New Zealand's next band to watch makes waves in Vancouver
Meet New Zealand's latest electronic pop wunderkinds. They're now on their first world tour after a January EP release with Lorde producer Joel Little.
BROODS is Caleb and Georgia Nott, a sibling pair of Kiwis, whose breathy single “Bridges” (released Oct 2013) and debut self-titled EP (released this January) has gathered international attention at breakneck pace. Canada is home to many of their early fanatics, with sold-out shows at every stop on their premier tour—including one last Friday to a merry mob at Vancouver’s The Media Club.
The fetching duo from Auckland signed record deals with majors Capitol (US) and Polydor (UK) last December, after “Bridges” reached 300,000 hits on YouTube (270,000 on Soundcloud) in barely two months’ time. Electronic taste-maker Mr. Suicide Sheep—a YouTube channel with 1.3 million subscribers—aided in the group's discovery, posting their tune with the one-sentence description: “This is phenomenal.”
As of April, the single is certified Gold in NZ, and has also made charts for Australian and US radio.
BROODS plays a brand of electronic pop that rides an ever-rising trend, while posturing themselves as an act well-apart. Most of 2013 found the group defining their sound, and collaborating with so-hot-right-now producer Joel Little (Lorde, Kids of 88) who the band says is also “like a mentor . . . helping us along through the different stages of what’s happening.”
BROODS’s spate of successes isn’t a conjuration by the wizardry commonly associated with New Zealand’s hobbit-holed hills; though ironically, it is magical. As a first effort, the 6-song release makes few mistakes. The tracks are rich in melody and percussion, but not stifled by the separation-anxiety repetitions plaguing similar early releases.
The EP's patient gut is shaped by production that sympathizes with the its medial melancholy. However, even the dimmer textures don’t diminish ardent lifts from synthesizer swells and dancy drum loops. “Bridges” is a host to some familiar witch house elements: groaning pitches swim its outskirts; a turbulent presence pulses past the ear, a foreboding phantom with a message of cyclical entrapment.
The 19-year-old Georgia Nott handles most of the vocals, exhaling intensity only tempered by obvious technique. Mindful lyrics remind the listener there’s wisdom at any age: “And I hate that I’m always so young / had me feeling that you were the one” (from “Never Gonna Change”)—but the EP’s prevailing tone of poignant angst doesn’t marry as well the dream-come-true, hand-holding lullaby on “Taking You There.” Though the latter listing is welcomed as an ethereal pause via some sweetly soporific acoustic guitar. “Coattails” is the anthemic closer and repeatable mantra of ideological impetus.
Last Friday, an at-capacity Media Club hosted primarily pre-hipster attendees suited in high-waists, five-panels and tight floral tops, waiting for the BROODS show to begin. At 9:15 p.m., sister and brother took front stage, accompanied by drummer dude for added live feel.
The spotlight remained fixed to Georgia, often standing at center, whose purity of voice evinced that her recorded material is not crutched by studio sorcery. Effective emoting also emanated from her entrancing movement, head-tossing and unforgiving glare—one lucky chap won’t soon forget her sultry stroke of his face.
Caleb head-bobbed by his faithful macbook, and supported well with complimentary vocals, boomy bass synths, and guitar. Attentive crowd persons engaged even as BROODS played a slew of new songs, feeling that there was something memorable happening here: witnessing the nascence of a world-class band is not an everyday experience. As thanks, Vancouver cheered the group their first encore chant of the tour.
Before the show, BROODS told The Vancouver Observer that “the idea that people actually want to come to our shows in all these different cities still trips us out a little bit”. But with consistent sell-outs and increasing awareness—including write-ups by Billboard and Noisey (VICE)—the first-day-at-class jitters must be fading fast.
BROODS will be releasing a full-length album this fall.