At times, it powerfully bounds and boasts intricate construction. At others? It falls prey to safe poppiness.
Conscious marks the second album of sibling duo Georgia and Caleb Nott, formally known as Broods. Where their first album spilled a light, timid airiness, their second effort tingles with an attempt to create a sonic elevation to punchy electro-pop. Featuring collaborations with Lorde and Tove Lo, Conscious should stand out against Broods’ established sound – the issue here is that it does not.
‘Free’ crashes into being with Georgia’s isolated vocals, followed by a crash of symbols as we are thrown into a dark, powerful synth section. As an opener, it is near-perfect. Confident, dark, and brooding with intricately shadowy production before its chorus establishes a safer, pop sound that goes to overwhelm the rest of the album. ‘We Had Everything’ follows suit with a nod to mainstream pop, as if it is a track made to be remixed by one of the big dance names. Whilst this track can almost be disregarded for its plainness, ‘Are You Home?’ pulls us back in with its racing drumbeat and moodier tone. It is in the latter half of the track – where the focus shifts from Georgia’s vocals to Caleb’s production – that we are handed the real star of this album. His quick paced synth work and interesting construction, rife with vocal distortions, save the track from falling into the all-too-familiar realm of over-produced pop numbers.
As the album progresses, it appears that the tracks only become more interesting when vocal distortions are placed over Georgia’s vocals or where we are given a break via Caleb’s enticing production. Tove Lo’s vocals on ‘Freak Of Nature,’ a seemingly more interesting track with husky vocals and raw piano melodies, add a darker dimension to the album. But when the two sing together, ‘Freak Of Nature’ sadly becomes more of an X Factor ballad than one expects from Broods. ‘All Of Your Glory’ is a soft, gentle ballad – but the vocals are strained and the track can be written off almost instantly.
Conscious is not to be washed with a stain of devout negativity, though. ‘Recovery’ adds a welcome euphoria, with soaring synths and a summery depth, with ‘Couldn’t Believe’ coursing through a similar vein to opener ‘Free’. It is enticing and captivating, with slick production as Georgia sings “we hid under blankets of ignorance.” The album’s title track enters with tinkling cow bells, with fuzzy warbling synth echoes. It crashes and tumbles, with Georgia’s chants echoing “wake me up and keep me conscious” amid Caleb’s dark production. It’s a daring track, almost making you forget the substance-less pop that plays out on some of the previous tracks.
Even the daring final track of Conscious is not enough to make this album what it needs to be. I wanted the power and excitement of ‘Free’ and the brashness of 2014’s ‘Bridges’ to tingle through the album – but they don’t. Each track is a fairly obvious lyrical story, making Consciousan all too safe pop record from Broods.
Conscious will be released on Friday 24th June via Capitol Records.