The other day, my friend and I were arguing about the intricacies that separate punk from grunge from garage, and she shamelessly and unsuccessfully tried to convince me that “it’s all punk.” Well, Sarah, I’m taking you on a date to Jack Rabbits this Friday.
Pronounced “Bron-Cho,” Oklahoma-based garage pop band BRONCHO is passing through Jacksonville with a spirit of the ’80s invasion that’s bound to have you dancing with yourself (and whoever’s beside, behind, and in front of you). Lead guitarist Ryan Lindsey, drummer Nathan Price and bassist Ben King released their sophomore record, Just Enough Hip to Be Woman, just last week, and they’ve jumped right over the treacherous second record slump. In fact, they’ve fuzzed past it, with an even better, more-fi reverbed rock than their first album, 2013’s Can’t Get Past the Lips.
BRONCHO joined the Dine Alone Records roster not long ago, the same label to give us artists like Delta Spirit and The Lumineers. But you won’t be tapping your feet to any “hey’s” and “ho’s.” The savvy three-piece will have you bouncing to an almost-too-catchy “dun dun dun dun” pop, and you’ll love them for it. Their songs are self-proclaimed sexy nostalgia, a more contemporary Modern English that’s been run through the washing machine.
In truth, it’s hard to pin the band down to any one genre. The music video for their new track “Class Historian” has that VHS-y kind of grit that you’d pause on as you flipped past MTV on your television in 1983. But that’s why they’re good: They’re deliberate. They take on The Strokes and a Billy Idol amalgamation and they own it.
Having a rocky start with their first album, BRONCHO is taking music fans by surprise this fall, with their new release and U.S. tour. New songs like “NC-17” and “It’s On” are coarse and quick, but also refined enough to make you look over at your honey and smile as you cruise down the ocean highway with the sunroof open. But don’t think they’re going to give you one of those indie shows where you crowd around the band and bob your head in unison, gripping your craft beer. These guys will be on the stage with the volume up and guitars grinding. They’ll forget their synths.
Go back and check out their first album to get their grungier side, a fast-as-hell-paced rollercoaster with songs averaging no more that two minutes. Lo-fi gems like “I Don’t Really Want to Be Social” and “Blown Fuse” are good yardsticks to gauge their rapidly developing maturity and quest to find their voice.
BRONCHO unapologetically pulls their inspiration from ’70s and ’80s pop, punk and garage rock, and that’s why I can dance to it. Like I said earlier, BRONCHO’s sound is deliberate. Their music makes you say, “that sounds a little like … ” but their genre-bending antics allow them to avoid sounding derivative. You can’t quite pin down what decade they’re in.
BRONCHO plays at Jack Rabbits on Friday, Sept. 26 with SUNBEARS! and Low Litas. Bring your friends and get ready to shake a leg — fast. I expect to be sweating as I dance some sense into Sarah and show her what happens when The Kinks have a baby with Tears For Fears. Whether you’re into pop, punk or old junk, it’s worth waiting through the rote multimedia fit of SUNBEARS! to rock out with these Okie-bred distorted time-travelers.