This is cathartic music that finds joy within the melancholy.
I was delighted to be visiting Leeds my hometown after living in London for a year and a bit. Synchronicity would have it that my friends in Brooders were doing a headline gig at Hyde Park Book Club. I’ve been to most venues in Leeds, except Hyde Park Book Club and what a great venue it is and what a fun gig it was. The first band to play was Dharma Wild who had an interesting setup, synth/drum pads, bass and guitar.
This is very chilled music, electronic and yet it has an acoustic ambience to it that reminds me of The Durutti Colum and later Radiohead. A chilled early R&B influence with twiddly math rock-influenced guitar, swirling stoner vibes and gliding synth arpeggiators. The vocals are very much your typical singing about past relationships but it certainly still is music to ease a comedown.
Faux Pas was on next. This was reminiscent of early emocore – frontman reminded me of sunny day real estate vocally. Although the lyrics seem to be more akin to pop-punk and teenage angst. The frontman looks in pain but is probably having a very good time.The musicianship is great here with jangly even skankable grunge riffs. Schreechy guitar pop and catchy popping drum beats. A friend once told me that shoegaze musicians love Jaguars and so it’s not surprising that Faux Pas have two.
They are embracing the funk that is hidden beneath teenage angst. The grandest moments are when the drummer and lead guitarist really lock in rhythmically into a pool of twiddly repetition that grooves. The frontman devoted a song to his mother who was at the gig and he said: “I’m not always a great son”. But he can play the guitar. Brooders have a grunge sound with more clean and angular guitar work than, say Mudhoney. They are a very strong three-piece, the tonal qualities of the guitar and bass complement each other. The bass lines are punchy and angular. The drumming is hard-hitting. There’s a clear Screaming Trees influence here musically but vocal wise they do have a very British sound. The vocals go from growls like Stiff Little Fingers to more Brit-pop Alex Turner style singing. The guitar is thrashing angular distorted melodies while the descending bass lines are emotive and melancholic.
A grunge pop sound with an austere Britishness what Brooders really nail and what makes them unique is how the more down-tempo, slower moments are still very grungey and ride along with a crushing groove. The frontman has a fantastic stage presence with a friendly sense of humour. They’re all about having a good time. “We like to call this song melons but it’s called melancholy” this captures the essence of Brooders, this is cathartic music that finds joy within the melancholy.