Bronco Bullfrog - What People Did Before TV

It's deceptively difficult to write songs in a band that manage to act as a both a revisionist nod towards the past whilst simultaneously appearing as though they emerged from the present, and yet Rev-Ola 'Now-Sound' fledglings Bronco Bullfrog, named after the gritty working-class East-End film of 1969, pull off the task miraculously. The brilliantly-named compilation What People Did Before TV, a collection of the stronger cuts from their previous albums, is a delicious introduction to anyone unsure of the wonders Bronco Bullfrog behold. Whereas fellow Rev-Ola labelmates the Wondermints funnel their sixties fixation through a mixing pot of Brian Wilson, Burt Bacharach and Scott Walker, Bronco Bullfrog are their British counterparts, instead channeling their creative angle through such sixties Britpop as mid-point Beatles, The Hollies and Jeff Beck.

Not bad for a three-piece who, despite a welcome following in Europe, are virtually unknown to most hip consumers of UK music. Lead singer Michael Poulson certainly has a Graham Nash tone to his vocal delivery, which helps accentuate the mid-sixties aesthetic. The psychedelia leanings are well observed, with a heavy-dose of power-pop-rock thrown in to add further edge. As this is a compilation, some of the recordings will obviously have a different tone to others, and the fact that Toerag studioman Liam Watson, more famously the man who produced The White Stripes latest sell-out, suggests that the band are keen to reconstruct arcaic recording techniques to further drive home that revisionist sound.

Still, there are some fine slices of retro-rock on offer here by Bronco Bullfrog. One Day With Melody Love sounds as if it were broadcast direct from a 1967 radio station, whilst Down Angel Lane has a warm rock sound that suitably drives the vocal. There's even a thundering rhythm and bass solo midway through. Blow Yourself Up is a smouldering, pounding rock number complete with sixties' distortion, whilst the mainly acoustic-driven multi-harmonied Sweet Tooth suggests a more mature side from the band. On the whole, What People Did Before TV is a fine package that certainly sixties-pop fans will savour. As the music industry seems intent to kill off the growth of singer-songwriters with their quick-buck mentality, it's bands such as Bronco Bullfrog that we really should be championing.



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Overall

8

out of 10

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