Broken Witt Rebels are a four-piece from Birmingham, formed in 2015 – OK Hotel is their second full-length release. Coming in at a sensible 47 minutes, they mix upbeat songs – which you can imagine being sung by fans at a packed gig – with some slower ones that you know will sound the best blaring on your headphones with your eyes closed.
At first listen to this album seems to be of inconsistent quality, with the stronger songs in the middle of the tracklisting, but after a few listens those which you weren’t overly excited by at first are actually very good and don’t deserve to be overlooked. The title track is one of those – not sure why it didn’t hit the mark at first listen, but after a few more it is one of those you can see yourself singing along to loudly at a Broken Witt Rebels gig.
Danny Core’s vocals range from an early-00s indie rock sound akin to Caleb Followill (Kings of Leon) but a more bluesy-soul sound, somewhere between a gravely Michael McDonald and Joe Cocker, with something unique thrown in the mix. There is a great depth of feeling in the vocals – and the lyrics – which the musicians reflect well with their playing. You can hear the influence of the music they grew up listening to, including ‘Alabama Shakes’, but not in such a way you feel they are trying to be anything but themselves.
The last track, ‘Birmingham’, is a little out of kilter with the rest of the album – a bit like a hidden track – but that said it is a great song. A more British Folk-Rock number, you can hear this being played on the canals of Birmingham. This love song to their home town is well written, shows that the band’s ability to turn their hand to something a little different, and a nice way to end this fine album.
OK Hotel is released on 13 March and is available at all the normal places.