Saturday, October 6th, 2018

Broods – Peach

New Zealand’s finest and, frankly, prettiest sibling act return.


William John: Look, this could be sheer coincidence, and I could be doing that likely very annoying thing where I characterise all New Zealanders as being part of a monolith of people who are all only a degree away from someone who did something in a Tolkien film. But  between the buoyant, lurching bassline in Chelsea Jade’s “Pitch Dark,” the delightfully defiant album Ultra Red from October, the smiling-through-the-squall that runs all the way through Future Me Hates Me, the new record from The Beths, and now this bit of fizz from brother-sister Broods, it does seem as though New Zealand’s pop scene is brimming with fearlessness at the moment, and it’s thrilling. Put it down to Jacindamania, or a direct, inspired response to melodrama, or fate, or perhaps a confluence of the three. On “Peach,” Caleb and Georgia Nott swirl around happily in solitude and find contentment in the present. It’s a saccharine message, and not novel, but it is worth reminding oneself when confronted with the daily horrors of our desolate world that in spite of all apparent misery, self-actualisation is still possible, new days are on the horizon, and a dream need not be treated as mere delusion. The giddy, helium-inflected vocals in the pre-chorus here are rousing enough for that directive to filter through, but true lucidity comes with the chorus and its clattering of drums and woah-ohs. It’s as though a curtain has been opened in a dark room, and everything has suddenly been bathed in clarifying, auspicious sunlight.

Ian Mathers: I don’t love the sample or filter or just performance that makes the voice sound like a little kid’s bit for a bit right before the chorus, and this feels like it could have been trimmed by a minute or so and seemed a little less disjointed, but it wouldn’t really take much altering to turn “Peach” from something promising to something great.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: The desire for isolation aligns well with the introspective verses, but the song then aims to capture quiet contentment through an arrangement that finds a middle ground between insularity and pomp. It feels like the musical equivalent of walking in a parade and feeling happy about one’s life; in this moment, all of life’s suffering can be ignored and things are just as they should be. The titular “everything’s looking peach now” hook is a bit too happy-go-lucky though, and the song ends up sounding like canned excitement. The vocal processing and inelegant structure also read as forced quirkiness, and it actually makes me feel extremely lonely. It’s like everyone around me is having a blast and I’m trying my hardest not to kill the mood so I play along. Forcing my best smiles and acting more gregarious than usual, I hope that no one notices how I really feel. Of course, in the back of my mind I keep asking myself, “what’s wrong with me?” This isn’t healthy for me to listen to and I’m never going to play it again.

Taylor Alatorre: It’s hard for me to hear this as something other than an intricately adorned edifice whose sole purpose is to showcase some pretty great drum fills. And yes, they are pretty great. But the untelegraphed stylistic changes make it difficult to establish a baseline mood, and the insistence on layering new elements rather than perfecting the existing ones smacks of dilettantism. As a result, I have no clue what those pretty great drum fills are supposed to make me feel, other than mildly impressed.

Rebecca A. Gowns: This is so fun! I just want to listen to this over and over again. The verses are so deliciously restrained, and that bombastic multi-part chorus is so meaty I could chew it like a big fat gumball. It reminds me of the first time I heard “Praise You” or “Let Forever Be” — or maybe it just reminds me of being on the verge of young adulthood, feeling like anything was possible, getting lost in daydreams, and wearing out my DVDs of music videos with clever conceits.

Will Adams: The pre-chorus — where the vocals distort, the house piano comes in and the synths start to soar — makes me think this could really use a Galantis remix. It’s the best part of a song that’s otherwise shrouded in reverb and a mix that lacks brightness.

Julian de Valliere: Whenever I’m feeling terrible about life and my general existence I don’t normally turn to songs that promise the sun will break through the clouds tomorrow, because when I’m sat on the toilet in the only room I can be afforded some privacy to fall apart I don’t really want to be reminded of a hope I can no longer seem to generate. Those songs, all of which have undoubtedly been painstakingly assembled to inspire joy and optimism and all that good stuff within my breast, only manage to come across as cruel in my head. “Peach” has also been geared to stimulate such emotions, but there’s a specificity in Broods’ lyricism — particularly that middle eight — that allows it to register as intended. “Peach” doesn’t try to downplay the severity of any situation, but spins the endless possibilities of the future in a way that’s more realistic than impossibly cheerful. Yes, there’ll be bad times, but also good ones, eventually. And then maybe more bad. But then probably more good. When you’re desperately waiting for things to turn around, each knock-back can feel like another sign to stop pushing forward — but I’m so grateful to this song for reminding me that forward is the only way.

Alfred Soto: The drum fills, whooshes, and synth fills, and a startling call and response moment with multi-tracked vocals — this track has ideas galore. After several listens with diminishing returns, I don’t hear the song, though.

Katherine St Asaph: Catcall’s “The World Is Ours” retrofitted for 2018. It’s one ever-so-slight step ahead of alt-pop, like a runway trend that’s just started to trickle into all the stores (not quite how that works, but), and may well sound less joyous a year later. But it isn’t a year later yet.

Edward Okulicz: Not entirely sure of the use of “peach” as an adjective as opposed to “peachy,” but am entirely sure that this is a confident bit of alt-pop that is only pretending to be shy in the chorus because that’s how all the best pop songs and rollercoasters work, and the thing is stuffed with cool noises and insanely catchy hooks. The drums, the chorus that explodes and then becomes whole again only to explode as a slightly different chorus! There’s a piano house mix yet to be created that’s a hypothetical 10 that I’m willing into existence with my mind. Please, Broods, please, make my year.

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