When I was sent Brawlers’ debut album to review, I didn’t think I’d ever listened to their music. That’s until I heard ‘Windowmisser’, and I realised I’ve heard them played on BBC Radio 1 multiple times. They made a good impression on my first listen, and that good impression has continued while listening to Romantic Errors of Our Youth.
My initial reaction to the Leeds four piece was that their vocalist sounds a little bit like The Wombats’ Matthew Murphy. With a punk rock core running underneath quirky lyrics, Brawlers seem to have crafted a pretty original sound. Plus, the vocalist doesn’t struggle to be heard over the instruments, which is definitely a bonus.
‘Drink & Dial’ is perfect for radio play: in fact, a lot of the tracks would be suitable for a more mainstream audience. That doesn’t take away from the guitar riffs and cymbal-heavy percussion, however, which are unapologetically punk rock.
Some of my favourite features are the bassy introduction to ‘Holding Back’, the change of tempo during ‘(I’m Having A) Nervous Breakdown’ and the gang vocals at the end of the title track. There isn’t a lot of focus on the backing instruments, and Romantic Errors of Our Youth wouldn’t suffer from a couple of additional guitar solos or interesting drum fills. Perhaps Brawlers should focus a little more on making each track easier to differentiate in future efforts. At the same time though, none of the tracks fall into the trap of becoming overlong, whimsical or boring.
The tracks are all pretty short and the album is only 10 songs long, but for a debut LP I’d argue Romantic Errors of Our Youth is still a job well done. Plus, short punchy songs are pretty standard on a record of this ilk so I can’t really criticise them for wanting to create tracks like that.
Brawlers are currently getting a lot of radio time, and it’s obvious why. I can see this band appealing to a really wide audience, and they’re really starting to make a name for themselves. This album is really strong – I can imagine most of the tracks sounding incredible live.
– Katie Boyden