For me, US Indie band BRONCHO are one of those bands that I sometimes stumble across while browsing YouTube playlists, and for the next month or so their songs get played so much on my phone that it nearly catches fire. And it looks like I am not the only one who has discovered the catchy pop quality of their music: they have already appeared on the soundtracks of HBO’s series Girls and films including Movie 43.
Last night’s appearance at London’s Oval Space, alongside Californian band The Growlers, is particularly tight-scheduled: they are onstage for 35 minutes, no more no less, but they make every second count.
I haven’t seen such a cheerful audience in a while: the usual workers that go to weeknight gigs simply as an alternative to a tired after-work pint are replaced by a colourfully-dressed merry bunch, with everyone dancing and laughing. No doubt the venue contributes to this atmosphere, with its spacious open terraces that even in this not-so-warm early May evening create a festival-like buzz, but it’s also fuelled by BRONCHO’s gleeful pop rock tracks.
Their set is filled with tracks from their recent album, Just Enough Hip To Be A Woman, but numbers from their debut, Can’t Get Past The Lips, are also played. Both records feature the band’s own brand of catchy garage pop and both mostly consist of chord-powered earworms, which is what makes BRONCHO’s music so successful. It’s the sonic equivalent of candy: you know that too much of it may make you sick, but it’s so addictive that at one point you just give up and gorge on it. That said, I love both albums for different reasons: Can’t Get Past The Lips has a more playful feeling with a somewhat punkish and troublemaker air to it at times, while their second outing has a more dreamy, nu-wave atmosphere.
To be perfectly honest, I would have loved it if more songs from their debut LP had been played, although the inclusion of ‘Try Me Out Sometime’, ‘Record Store’ and ‘I Don’t Really Want To Be Social’ made me perfectly happy, especially the latter as it transports me right back to my not-so-sociable teenage years.
My only real complaint is about the short duration of the gig, but that only makes me want to see more.
Just Enough Hip To be Woman is out now, via iTunes.