Review by Greg Maki
Rock music may be barely an afterthought in pop culture these days, but it’s not for a lack of talented young bands. Just take a listen to Brkn Love, the brainchild of Toronto native Justin Benlolo, which sports a razor-sharp, vintage sound circa the mid-1990s. (Man, typing that made me feel old.) There’s no one band of that era that I would compare Brkn Love to, but if its latest single slipped in on the radio among, say, Nirvana, Local H and the Toadies, it would be perfectly at home. For a more current reference, Royal Blood comes to mind, though (obviously) not as bass heavy.
The deceptively bright riff of “I Can’t Lie”—an earworm if I’ve ever heard one—kicks off 11 tracks of pure, straightforward hard rock on Brkn Love’s self-titled debut.. Guitars, bass, drums and vocals—nothing else needed. And speaking of earworms, check out Benlolo’s vocal delivery, and the accompanying slinky riff, on the chorus of “Shot Down,” sure to be one of the best rock songs of 2020. Other highlights include “Flies in the Honey,” driven by a seductive bass-and-drum groove, and “Toxic Twin,” featuring Benlolo’s finest vocal of the album.
There’s nothing fancy about “Brkn Love,” and when you’ve got the songwriting and instrumental chops—and Benlolo clearly does—that’s the best approach to take. Still in his early 20s, Benlolo has a bright, bright future ahead of him.
Spinefarm Records – February 14, 2020