Defiantly proclaiming "I'd lose everything so I can sing," Georgia Nott opens Broods' sophomore album, Conscious, with a bang. As the tribal drums kick in, synths droning with a menacing determination, it's clear that this effort is a huge evolution for the sibling duo of Georgia and Caleb Nott. Released two years after their introspective breakthrough debut, Conscious elevates the pair from the electro-indie sidelines occupied by Vaults and MisterWives and into major-player Chvrches territory. The melodies are catchier, the beats hit harder, and the energy is palpable, leaps and bounds above the moody, downtempo Evergreen. Once again produced by Joel Little (Lorde, Sam Smith, Ellie Goulding), Conscious is the sound of confidence and maturity. The Notts have had time to develop their songcraft -- guesting with Troye Sivan and Jarryd James, touring with Smith and Goulding -- and it's apparent, much like Goulding's own major pop leap to Delirium. Lead single "Free" was the first indicator, exploring an edgy scope that the Notts hadn't come close to on their debut. The yearning and breezy follow-up single "Couldn't Believe" is another highlight, sparkling with similar energy to Chvrches' "Clearest Blue" from 2015's Every Open Eye. Fellow Kiwi Lorde lends her alt-pop golden touch to "Heartlines," while Tove Lo infuses "Freak of Nature" with melodrama. Evergreen fans will delight in the slow burn of "Bedroom Door," the droning "Hold the Line," and the mellow "All of Your Glory," however those brief plaintive moments yield to the cheerfully liberated spirit of the bulk of the album. On the closing title track, the bass booms and Georgia warns to "wait for the explosion." Although in the context of the song it's a tortured plea, it might as well be a rallying cry for the entire album. Conscious builds upon the promise of their debut and goes well beyond with a tight vision of a glimmering pop future for the Notts.
AllMusic Review by Neil Z. Yeung