Album Reviews

Archie Bronson Outfit – Wild Crush

(Domino) UK release date: 19 May 2014

Archie Bronson Outfit - Wild Crush Much like the World Cup and the Olympics, four years has become the regular waiting time for a new Archie Bronson Outfit album. Fourth album Wild Crush arrives four years on from their last album, Coconut – which in turn came four years after 2006’s Derdang Derdang. However, the delay between albums this time around is much more significant, because Wild Crush is their first release since the departure of founding member Dorian Hobday.

Following his decision to leave the band, remaining members Sam Windett (vocals, guitar) and Mark Cleveland (drums) welcomed live collaborator Kristian Robinson to help with production and synthesiser duties, before embarking on recording the new album. The results see Archie Bronson Outfit return to what they do best, with nine songs of psychedelic garage rock clocking in at a brisk 32 minutes.

Opener Two Doves On A Lake, with its thunderous, muscular guitar riff and Windett’s distorted vocals, sets the tone for the record. It is a furious, fast-paced bundle of energy which sounds like Archie Bronson Outfit are performing with the shackles off – a move that proves to be very successful. We Are Floating continues in a similar vein with its meaty hook forming the backbone of the song, before a spiky guitar solo takes hold, spitting and stuttering over the rumbling drum beat.

In fact, Wild Crush is far removed from their more experimental, bold third album, which was produced by DFA’s Tim Goldsworthy and saw the trio tinker with the bluesy rock formula that made Derdang Derdang a favourite among fans and critics alike. The synthesizers and dance beats are less significant this time around, with tracks such as Cluster Up & Hover relying simply on raw, unrestricted guitar riffs and Windett’s strained vocals.

Yet despite the prominence of the heavier, ’60s garage rock, it is the sprawling psychedelic pop number Love To Pin You Down that is undoubtedly the highlight of the record. “I get deep down and now I understand” wails Windett, over a concoction of hazy guitar hooks and faint bursts of saxophone, before another ambling guitar solo finishes off the disorientating and engrossing track.

Lori From The Outer Reaches attempts to continue that psychedelic euphoria, but it does so with much less success. Windett’s limited vocal range is left brutally exposed by the song’s languid melody and its dreadfully dull analogue synths, which combine to bring the album to a shuddering halt. The momentum is not lost for long though, with the driving rhythm of Sweat & Flow (Dreams) delivering a slice of sun-drenched pop that rediscovers the purpose of the album’s opening exchanges.

As Wild Crush moves swiftly towards its conclusion, Archie Bronson Outfit briefly move up a gear on Hunch Your Body, Love Somebody, which – despite having some rather clumsy lyricism – is three minutes of thrilling, raucous fun. Country Mile brings everything to a close with its suitably wondrous melody and chugging guitar riff, as Windett appropriately sings through his distorted vocal: “I don’t want to see you looking back.”

It certainly seems Archie Bronson Outfit are not planning on looking back, which is something that they could have easily done after Hobday’s departure. While Wild Crush is by no means perfect, it does feel like a fresh start for the band and there is a clear sense of direction from start to finish. It will now be interesting to see whether they will stick with their current formula or twist and try something new. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take another four years to find out.

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Archie Bronson Outfit – Wild Crush
Archie Bronson Outfit – Coconut
Archie Bronson Outfit @ ICA, London
Archie Bronson Outfit – Derdang Derdang