For decades now, it’s been cool for rock bands to sound bad. With the mechanization of pop–rock came a fleet of disenchanted indie rockers pushing back against the norm with gritty records full of fuzz.
Then, within the past twenty years, recording technology became relatively less expensive, and plenty of teens have taken it upon themselves to popularize the “dorm–room rock” genre and it’s signature “lo–fi” aesthetic. The consequence of this proliferation is such that “lo–fi” and “punk” are now buzzwords evoked from a band's ethos rather than it's practice. Now, indie rock bands often lack originality when crafting their sound—too much reverb and fuzz on every instrument leads to a muddy sound, not great music.
Objectively, BRONCHO is not one of those bands.
The Tulsa, Oklahoma four–piece has been churning out tunes since 2013. Sure, their first record Can’t Get Past the Lips fell into some of the punk tropes prevalent among garage rockers in the early half of the decade—power–pop anthems like “Psychiatrist” and “Record Store,” for example. But there was promise for this band; they were something unique. Ryan Lindsey’s wispy vocals dripped with carnality, most lyrics evoking phallic imagery. Their sound was power–pop meets punk meets new wave, and the hooks were catchy enough to stay stuck in your head hours after each listen.
BRONCHO’s sound is muddy as hell, but each dreamy, power–pop jam shines like a diamond in the rough. Other than the obvious sexual references, their lyrics are somewhat nonsensical, but in a cool way; they evoke a sense of place more than a narrative from beginning to end. Theirs is a bad, sexy vibe pulled off by generations of leather–clad rockers before them. But what truly separates BRONCHO is their songwriting abilities.
Maybe you’ve heard “Class Historian,” their most listened to track off of their sophomore album Just Enough Hip to Be Woman. It’s a prime example of their unique ability to write catchy songs that don’t emulate the robotic structure many pop songs fall into (Verse, Bridge, Chorus, Rinse, and Repeat). Lindsey’s eccentric “Doo Doo Doo’s” carry the song in a very novel way.
In their latest record, Bad Behavior, BRONCHO pulls the covers off the world and exposes the bad behavior they’ve seen all around them. They have a knack for keeping consistent; one record never sounds drastically different from the next, but with this iteration of BRONCHO comes a welcomed and distinct nod to disco on songs like “Sandman” and “Keep It in Line.” Still, their usual psychedelic–inspired grunge shines on songs like “All Choked Up” and “Weekend.”
Here's a band who knows what they're doing when it comes to effects; there's just enough dirt on the bass, subtle delays on the guitars, and tastefully spacious reverb on Lindsey's vocals. Chock full of irresistible grooves and foot–tappers, Bad Behavior capitalizes on BRONCHO's blend of spacey dream pop and grungy power–pop. No matter what track you put on from Bad Behavior, you’ll feel like you’re cruising up the coast in a vintage muscle car with not a care in the whole world.