Broken Witt Rebels - 'OK Hotel' Album review
1. Running With The Wolves
3. OK Hotel
4. Caught In The Middle
5.Take You Home
6. Broken Pieces
7. Save My Life
8. Give it Up
9. Around We Go
11. Love Drunk
12. Rich Get Richer
This a solid debut for this band from Birmingham. I kept thinking they reminded me of someone who is already a successful artist, which is none too shabby for your debut.
'Running With The Wolves' is a quality opening track, a pounding rhythm section, soaring guitars and a quality lead vocalist. As opening tracks go this is a top of the range start. It’s followed by 'Money', which I can just imagine strutting along the road to, it has that feel of swagger about it, it doesn’t mess about, doing it’s best to burrow its way into your brain and lodge itself there.
I wasn’t quite as convinced by the title track, it had its moments but for me it didn’t quite work as a song. It felt like an attempt to write an anthem that didn’t quite mesh. It may sound better live with the audience singing along but I remain to be convinced.
'Caught In The Middle' is a decent song spoilt by slightly too many unoriginal lyrics, it felt like the band had plundered various lines from other songs and stitched them together, the idea behind it was good it just felt like it hadn’t been as well executed as it could have been. It did get better as it went on and I may be being too harsh but this band can write a great song, I just felt this wasn’t their finest moment on the album.
'Take You Home' shows there is a longing in this band to write this decades equivalent of the Rock ballad, it felt like it could be trying to create a sense of romantic longing and soaring lyrics, it’s a really good attempt, I suspect they will get better at this.
'Broken Pieces' for me works much better, it’s a return to the form of the start of the album. Soaring yet intimate at the same time. When the guitar kicks in it makes it feel like something people could be throwing air guitar shapes to with a great bluesy Rock vocal.
'Save My Life' is very atmospheric, it had a vibe to it that made me want to keep listening, it also made me think 'film score', it would work very well as the moment in the film when the main character is at their lowest ebb and about to start the long journey to redemption.
'Give It Up' continues the atmospheric approach while clearly trying to be rockier. It also reinforced my belief there was an attempt going on here to write a new Rock anthem.
'Around We Go' didn’t quite work for me, it had many good elements but something didn’t quite gell. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a decent song and better than many I’ve listened to recently but it didn’t soar the way some of their other songs manage.
'Fearless' is where it starts to come together again, it’s a proper slow burning strut that has a 70’s Blues Rock feel to it. It demonstrates equal amounts of swagger and control. This is where I began to think this band could be in it for the long haul if they can enforce slightly better quality control.
'Love Drunk' is a decent song, not as good as some of the others on this record, a decent effort.
'Rich Get Richer' has a natural home on the next series of Peaky Blinders, it has that feel about it of Tommy walking across a Black Country landscape with murder in his mind. I really enjoyed this, it’s perhaps my favourite song on the album.
'Birmingham' is a city I know well, I just am not sure I recognised it from the final song of this album but perhaps we know different Birmingham’s? It’s a perfectly decent song but for me the lyrics didn’t quite work, it could have been much more than it is.
For me there isn’t quite enough swagger in this album, when they bring it this band has it in spades, but it felt like they were rationing it. I’m not quite sure why. They can write very atmospheric songs that transport you to where they want you to be but, and this is the reason it’s not a five, there are just too many songs that don’t quite reach the heights they have set for themselves, but as I said above a solid debut that suggests there is a lot more to come.
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Review - Iain McClay