Review: BRONCHO – Double Vanity
National Music Reviews
BRONCHO Double Vanity
Dine Alone Records Street: 06.10 BRONCHO = New York Dolls + Black Lips + Dead Shakes
About a year ago, Broncho toured through Nashville. They played a small venue in the northern part of the city, basically nowhere near anything else and out of reach from the hordes of “Nash-Vegas” tourists downtown and just a bit too removed for the craft-beer-sipping hipsters in East Nash. That night, Broncho lit up the small, dim room. There was a considerable amount of mumbling onstage coming from lead signer Ryan Lindsey's mouth. Bassist Penny Pitchlynn stayed mostly inconspicuous on the right side of the stage but plucked ferociously through booming bass parts. The crowd was held spellbound. The level of mesmerization that Broncho commanded from the small group at The Stone Fox in Nashville persists through their newest studio release, Double Vanity.
Lindsey's vocals ooze sensuality on Double Vanity. Something is mysterious about the way he sings, hushed and under his breath at times, clicking with the energy of a ’70s punk rocker at others. The combination keeps Broncho's garage rock roots very much intact, even if Double Vanity is the mellowest of their records thus far.
Double Vanity's name itself alludes to the perceived feminine side of our individuality. The album is a testament to sexuality and delicateness. Lindsey coyly seduces the listener, even with scratchy guitars and heavy bass permeating the background. “Fantasy Boys” is the first single Broncho released off their LP. The guitar is gritty, and Lindsey coos repeatedly, “I want your fantasy.” “Jenny Loves Jenae” sheepishly moves through heavy bass and steady, drifting drum parts. Lindsey's vocals are so muffled at times that it is half impossible to decipher whether he's saying the name Jenny or Jenae. The perfectly ’80s track “Speed Demon” boasts female vocals to complement Lindsey's. She speak-sings like an ’80s pop icon: “I like your walk / Do you like my run? / Whose got the keys to my kingdom? You wanna ride ... Papa speed demon.” Broncho always have overly repetitive lyrics, which is part of what makes them so similar to punk bands like the Ramones, but “Speed Demon” skips a decade and plays dress-up with The Go Go's instead. “Soak Up The Sun” rages on sleepily, mimicking a grunge sound. Lindsey sings, “I found a way to soak up the sun / I found a way to never be home.” Broncho have been touring pretty consistently to promote their three albums, and this may be the escape they've always desired from Tulsa.
The progression from Can't Get Past The Lips to Just Enough Hip To Be a Woman to Double Vanity is subtle but impossible to ignore. Can't Get Past The Lips, Broncho's first LP, is by far their most garage punk of the three albums, which isn't uncommon for many bands. As the band matures, so do the albums. There is a slight longing for Broncho's original raunchy, messy roots in Double Vanity at times. The edge that the band began with is fading into something that is easier to digest. That said, Double Vanity is still a testament to Broncho's musical prowess. The Tulsa, Oklahoma–based band is still luring us in with the magic in their music, so much so that this would be the perfect record to bring home your date to. Turn the lights down low and get wrapped up in the romantic lull of Lindsey's voice. –Alexandra Graber