Brawlers – Romantic Errors of Our Youth album review

Brawlers Alcopop

When Brawlers appeared on the scene with their social media-aping ‘Instagram Famous’ and a brash live show in tow, you knew there was something special about them. Signed to Alcopop! Records, Harry Johns’ personal self-depreciating lyrics were brutally honest: ‘I Am a Worthless Piece of Shit’ indeed. Now following its singles ‘Two Minutes’ and ‘Windowmisser’, they’re set to release their debut album ‘Romantic Errors of Our Youth’.

Huge guitars herald the start of ‘Annabel’ – the album’s self-referential opener which contains lines like ‘We’ve been playing some shows for a while and been having some nights on the tiles’. Already you know that Brawlers are kindred spirits of fellow party animal Andrew WK. As the song relentlessly goes along in its spiky almost-garage rock style, Harry claims with a sense of pride: ‘We made a record and we won’t waste your time’. ‘Drink & Dial’ focuses more on regrets about unrequited love: ‘Don’t drink and dial unless you mean it’. With its pounding drums, Harry then admits: ‘I fell in love, I got it wrong’ amongst Dinosaur Pile-up-style riffage.

‘High Again’ sounds like a pumped-up Weezer and finds the band using an often under-used word from the English language – ‘berserk’. ‘I’m off from work because my stomach went berserk’ is an enticing set of lyrics as the song covers how good it feels to have loved ones around, even when things go shitty… Thescuzzed-up sound of ‘N.O. R.E.S.T’ contains the defining line: ‘I’m having such a good time, baby’. Frantic, fun and deeply personal, ‘Two Minutes’ finds Harry putting his heart on the line amidst ‘Dookie’-era Green Day punk rock: ‘I’ve got two minutes to make you love me’ and another dig at the current generation’s focus on social media: ‘You’re tweeting to your friends about last night, you’re pulling the wool over my eyes’.

Brawlers band

‘(i’m having a) Nervous Breakdown’ offers a blast of Xcerts-style loud pop as Harry sings: ‘I was a cannonball, I drank too much, can we stay in touch?’ before it evolves into a Reuben-esque climax with repeats of ‘This is not what I’m waiting for’ being screamed with extreme passion… Radio 1 favourite ‘Windomisser’ is a song you won’t be able to stop humming on first listen with its earworm melodies and its optimistic edge: ‘If I miss my window, then there’s something you should know, another one will open up some day and rescue me someday’. The title track provides a rousing finale to the album with ‘woos’ and talk of how: ‘I’ll write about it, I’ll sing about it’ and a shout-along finish.

Even though there’s a song called ‘Holding Back’, Brawlers give everything they’ve got throughout the running time of this record – from nostalgic pains to statements and boasts of unbridled enthusiasm, it’s a force of nature you won’t forget in a hurry.

‘Romantic Errors of Our Youth’ is released via Alcopop! Records on 6 April.

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