Despite their transatlantic fusion of blues, soul and rock n roll, Broken Witt Rebels are a new guitar driven band hailing from Birmingham, England. Songs from their two previous EPs (Howlin and Georgia Pine) plus a smattering of brand new material makes up their debut album Broken Witt Rebels (Snakefarm). It is a soulful yet gritty blend of the new and the old, Kings of Leon-esque arena rock; an Alabama Shakes-like vintage feel with the boozy swagger of The Cadillac Three, who they toured with this month.
This full-bodied swagger is in full flow in ‘Snake Eyes’, a sharp and punchy riff piques your interest with the nonstop bassy melody recalling the pomp of Muse’s ‘Psycho’. The same could be said of ‘Guns’, a powerful rocker with anthemic sensibilities that is ready-made for radio complete with a rather tasty solo courtesy of James Tanter. Album opener ‘Loose Change’ is a noisy blast of southern fried rock reminiscent of The Cadillac Three, topped off with a raspy, aggressive snarl from frontman Danny Core.
This debut is crammed with genuine rock n roll, following the retro rock revival of recent years and like their peers The Temperance Movement and Rival Sons, they sound simultaneously fresh yet oddly familiar. ‘Breathless’ follows this recipe down to a tee, a slow and deathly quiet verse leads you into an intense, explosive chorus – aping a formula that has served Dave Grohl well for 23 years and has an intensity that is also on show in ‘Howlin’, a ballsy number with a hyperactive energy and yet another red-hot solo. This full-on, whirling dervish of energy and noise is threaded throughout the record, subsiding slightly in ‘Getaway Man’ – an emotive pseudo-ballad that I am sure would go down a treat live.
With their debut album, these four lads from the West Midlands have delivered a catchy, well-crafted and impassioned statement of intent.