Technically, this blog post would probably fit better under the ‘Discovering’ series however The Brobecks are yet another example of music that went underappreciated during it’s time. Fans of I Don’t Know How But They Found Me (IDKHow) and Panic! At the Disco will know The Brobecks as one of Dallon Weekes’ first ventures into the music world and where he expressed his creativity for about eight years (from 2002 to 2009). Unfortunately, I was never aware of The Brobecks during their active years and only came across them after wanting to find music to fill the void until IDKHow release their debut album (whenever that may be). In my research I discovered The Brobecks 2009 album, Violent Things, and felt it my duty to share this collection of witty lyrics, clever hooks, gothic twists and unique take on pop rock with anyone who can appreciate creative genius at its finest.
Whilst Violent Things opens with the explosive, high energy ‘If You Like It or Not’, it’s second track ‘Small Cuts’ that really grasped my attention and instantly set The Brobecks apart from other artists in the indie pop rock scene. The intense and almost sinister guitar riffs combined with a hypnotic rhythm that crashes into a chaotic chorus set the dark tone for Violent Things. The entire song plays out almost like a battle between instruments and vocals, Dallon’s voice almost straining over the more intense moments of the song but still delivering an admirable example of vocal control. The dark beauty laced throughout the song is captivating and is enough to raise goosebumps upon multiple listens.
Better Than Me
One thing people constantly call Dallon out for is not recognising how outrageously talented he is but it’s one of the many reasons fans can relate to and love him and his music so. ‘Better Than Me’ is about thinking that you don’t measure up to anyone, compiled of self-loathing and depressing lyrics and I couldn’t love it more! The uncoordinated beginning of strumming guitar and tinkling keys embodies the confusion and self-doubt we have all felt and one point or another before settling into a slow beat that builds into a tumbling of lyrics and a cry of anguish that leads us into the chorus. ‘Better Than Me’ is the perfect song to release all that tension and pressure of feeling like you’re not enough and is one to come back to during low moments. The subject matter is almost comforting knowing that even successful musicians have moments of self-doubt but don’t let those moments stop them from pursuing their dreams.
Love at First Sight
‘Love at First Sight’ contains one of my favourite lyrics in possibly any song ever: ‘could this be love at first sight or should I walk by again?’ The song is a break from the intense emotions running through Violent Things and is possibly one of the sweetest love songs I have ever heard. A simple, stripped down song consisting of an acoustic guitar, soft vocals and various bells that makes the heart swell with the romance it embodies. The lyrics of the song are fitted with rose tinted glasses that see all the violence and darkness of the world as ‘the prettiest things’ because the narrator has found love. ‘Love at First Sight’ is not a bold declaration of love but is made up of all the shyness and blushing real-life romance brings us.
Violent Things is no doubt an album full of theatrics and drama, each song having its place on a musical stage, but no song deserves this more than ‘Goodnight Socialite.’ The track begins with melancholy strings before jumping into a shock of instruments and narrative that outlines the story of the song. ‘Goodnight Socialite’ is a modern day take on the cult musical, evoking similar vibes to Little Shop of Horrors whilst still managing to not be an imitation but something entirely its own. There’s something utterly enticing about ‘Goodnight Socialite’ that will have you playing it on a constant loop and stands out as a personal favourite from Violent Things.
Second Boys Will Be First Choice
Another song basking in story telling talent and playing out almost like a fable to a backing track of fast paced guitar, drums and sounds that shouldn’t fit as perfectly as they do with the vibe of the song. ‘Second Boys Will Be First Choice’ is a track full of scorn and devastation at being second choice but a warning that the choice may have been a mistake. The song hits home for anyone who has ever been a ‘second boy’ and is definitely one that can lift the spirits even through its macabre sound.
The longest song on Violent Things at over six minutes, ‘Boring’ is a dragged-out reflection on life and the slow moments we are all destined to endure. Beginning as a simple piano track, more and more instruments are added as the song progresses before falling into an electric guitar solo and repeating of lyrics that lead to a tumbling of sounds before evening out into a harmony of keys and strings. ‘Boring’ gives Violent Things an instrumental end that continues to echo even after the curtain has been drawn.
Dallon has reminisced on Violent Things as something that’s ‘not too shabby’ but unfinished nonetheless. At the time of the album’s creation money and time constraints meant certain finishing touches were not able to be applied. However Violent Things is still a beautiful and intriguing album that never received the mainstream success it deserved, and I hope IDKHow allows us an insight into what a completely finished product could have sounded like. I encourage you to explore the album in it’s entirety so you can experience other songs like ‘All of the Drugs’, ‘Visitation of the Ghost’, ‘The Nerve’, ‘I Will, Tonight’, ‘Bike Ride’ and ‘Le Velo Pour Deux.’
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By Skye W.Winwood