Mako Bron is the brainchild of one musician/producer Chris Brookman, and the single ‘Straight Down’ went to straight up to my top five Australian/New Zealand single releases for 2021. We at Backseat Mafia are therefore absolutely thrilled to be asked to premiere Mako Bron’s new EP, ‘cloudbites’, set for release on 3 January 2022.
Brookman displays an inherent ear for melody and creating ultimately satisfying pop songs driven by a celestial wall of jangling guitars. He says of the EP:
There’s a lot of introspection here, which is probably a product of the times. I was listening to a lot of British guitar music from the 80s and the 90s this year – The Cult, The Smiths, Stone Roses, My Bloody Valentine and Ride – I think this comes through…
The genetic code is undeniable but Mako Bron has its own spin: injecting a clarity and luminescence that also draw in an antipodean shimmer seen in bands like The Chills and The Go-Betweens with its pure pop spine.
Opening track ‘Unravel’ has a wall of jangling guitars that shimmer and shine: arcing riffs thundering above a driving rhythm section. Brookman’s vocals are cloaked in velvet as they carry melodies that scrape the skies with an euphoric blast. This is an enthralling pop song with its hint of yearning and lyrics that evoke a sense of anxiety and uncertainty:
I, I deny
You just pull that thread
You just pull that thread
see it unravel
Cantering along at a chemically engineered trot, “Straight Down’ is perfect slice of indie pop: filled with indelible melodies and a celestial anthemic chorus. I can’t help but think of the pop perfection of The Lightning Seeds with that delicious mix of melancholy and sweet pop: with a cinematic sweep creating an euphoric glow.
Brookman says of the track:
‘Straight Down’ is a song about accepting the things we can’t change and building yourself back after loss. It’s a little bit supernatural. It’s a happy song grounded in sadness. It’s supposed to be fun, and it’s supposed to be a bit weird. I’m fascinated by the idea of plurality of consciousness and the idea that different people can live inside us at once. In this song all the people I’ve lost are singing back to me, telling me they’re not going anywhere and that they will always be a part of me. Some of them grew old, some of them didn’t – but none of them will be buried and forgotten.
There is certainly a power and positivity about the track and a beautiful tension between the sweet and the sour. The guitars and synths thrum together across a syncopated beat as the song evolves into a swiftly flowing stream with yearning vocals burnished with beautiful harmonies and backing singing. It’s fresh and vital pop that fizzes and sparkles with an incandescent glow:
‘Sideways’ with its disco dance drums and jaunty keyboards lilts with an insistent rhythm but again with darker themes about a failure to grow and develop in a relationship:
And I go sideways with you
There’s something left to do
Feel you I do
But I can’t seem to get, I can’t seem to get through
Again, Brookman’s adeptness at melody shines through.
Final track ‘Arms’, about an all consuming passion that removes a sense of self, has a syncopated thrum and an arpeggiated synth pulse, recalling for me the passion and pace of Depeche Mode: a blissful mix between a vibrant instrumentation and haunted vocals.
There is a dark thread that runs through ‘cloudbites’ that may reflect, in the lyrics, the feelings of alienation and isolation in the age of COVID: a state of stasis and even entropy wrapped up in incandescent instrumentation and ethereal vocals. It’s a delicious dichotomy and Mako Bron has created a eminently satisfying melodic pop masterpiece with a dark heart to welcome in the new year.
‘cloudbites’ is available on 3 January 2022 and you can exclusively listen through the link below, and pre-save/pre-order here. Through Mako Bron, Brookman is already setting a high benchmark for 2022. A Happy New Year indeed.
Another piece of evidence of what I call the Marrickville sound developing in Sydney. A resurgence of rigorous and intelligent indie bands (many on their second or third time around), often guitar-based, creating some stunningly creative work mostly in the inner west of Sydney.
Chris Brookman: Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Synth, Keys, Drum Programming
Thom Mills: Drum kit and Percussion
Carl Bahner: Mixing and post production
Lucas Gienow: Track Editing
Nicholas Di Lorenzo: Mastering