What exactly, I wonder, is a “Broken Witt Rebel”? Or even an intact Witt Rebel, for that matter? Whatever the origins of their name, this bunch of young Brummies seem to be fully functioning to me. This five song EP from the four-piece shows them writing and playing with conviction, and mixing old-fashioned Brit rock with more contemporary leanings.
The thumping opening bars of ‘Low’ recall Golden Earring’s ‘Radar Love’, as an introduction to their more traditional side, with a sound akin to The Temperance Movement’s first album. It’s a comparison reinforced by Danny Core’s voice, which is firmly in the raucous, quavery British tradition ranging back from Phil Campbell to the likes of Steve Marriott. Core on
rhythm guitar and James Tranter on lead bang out
a muscular riff, the latter also spitting out fills here and there around the
anthemic chorus. The following ‘Suzie’
has a more laid back Southern rock feel, in the vein of The Black Crowes, even
as Core continues to holler away in gritty fashion.
|Broken Witt Rebels - young guns going for it
Pic by Simon Davis
‘Georgia Pine’ suggests something rather more modern and spiky, its slightly discordant guitar lines and occasionally keening vocals recalling the likes of Kings of Leon. The closing ‘Guns’ is of a similar ilk, with its high-revving guitar and rolling drums, although in this instance the arena-ready chorus sounds just a little too derivative.
Sandwiched between these two, ‘Getaway Man’ demonstrates more ambition. A dynamic affair that starts off in restrained fashion with just guitar and vocals, it eases into another chorus laden with singalong potential, before gradually building up a head of steam over its five minutes, taking in a stomping mid-section and an urgent guitar solo from Tranter along the way.
A five song EP may be a swallow that doesn’t yet make a summer, but on this showing Broken Witt Rebels are a promising outfit, with an appeal that’s likely to extend beyond old gits like me. If they can deliver a bigger bundle of songs of the standard displayed here, then I can see them playing to a heaving mass of sweaty kids before very long.