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.
Click links below for more label information
For other Cherry Red reviews on CD Times, click here