Normally a band puts out an album, people fall in love with it, and come see you play live. Branch Ricky has done it backwards, and let their immediately infectious music speak for itself at live shows. The buzz around Brancy Ricky might have made their pending album the most overdue local debut in years.
It’s really not supposed to work that way, not in this new era of flash-in-a-pan singles and music overload via streaming services, torrents, and YouTube — if you don’t have a steady stream of music streaming into those music streams, it’s easy to be drowned out under the never-ending avalanche of new music. So it says a lot about the band they didn’t need an album to become what they have in the city. Festivals like Lawnya Vawnya booked the band without having an album for its organizers to sample.
The Overcast has been leaking hot and head-turning jams off this pending album since as far back as April of 2015. But the songs are finally all recorded now, and the album drops in September. Its tracks run the gamut of rowdy singalongs like “Pyjama Party” to slower jams about a janitor in love with the town’s karaoke queen.
For now there’s a new song up on bandcamp, appropriately called Summertime, given it’s the season in which they’ve dropped the teaser. There’s an innovative ska-ish nature to the track, and the interplay of the guitars is great. The chorus has all the perks of your favourite pop-punk jam, with more substance than some feel the genre often has. In short, give it a second listen: it’s an awful lot of fun, and refuses to be boxed into a familiar genre. Is there a hint of doo-wop in there or what?
Given the quantity of quality songs on the forthcoming album, it’s easy to wonder how they settled on “Summertime” as the teaser song. “The song is mostly about keeping the warm rays flowing in the wintertime,” says Leon White of the band. “It’s a winter setting but makes the best of whatever season you’re currently complaining about. We Newfoundlanders know that all too well. We’re always ‘better than the weather.'”
They also simply like the song and its energy; a sentiment many people will feel about most every track on here when the album drops. This is a band having a blast. That’s clear, and it’s a contagious feeling, not just at their shows, but in the music itself. Exclaim‘s Vish Khana heard them for the first time at Lawnya Vawnya 2016, and wrote:
“A little frat with musical chops, Branch Ricky are most keen to have fun … [these] local favourites play a feel-good kind of Southern-fried rock with a healthy mix of danceable funk and pop thrown in for good measure.”
Their original sound, musical craftsmanship, and the plain fun in the songs easily builds a fanbase. Their notable and accessible uniqueness of sound, paired with proper hooks and a proper bar-show energy, is the musical megahook trio that catches the most loyal following in any city’s music scene. Branch Ricky has that unfamiliar and engaging breath of fresh music-air that’ll make this new album just what you wanna put on this September when it’s out.
This is not just another group backing up their pal’s songs, but a legit band of people coming together to create something bigger than anyone of them could alone. There’s multiple songwriters crafting these songs and sharing the mic (brownie points for the killer dude harmonies too), yet there’s a really cohesive glue acting as a common thread. That said, outliers and killer songs like The Strokes-ish “Everything But the Needle” and a ballad called “Something to See” definitely add some diversity to the tracklisting.
It’s fun, it’s catchy, it’s good, it’ll live up to the hype. Branch out of your go tos in September and make room for Branch Ricky in your cars, computers, and those jogs you’re finally getting around to after a summer of excessive beer calories.