Release Date: Sep 20, 2005
Record label: Warp
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Electronic
Broadcast's recent records have often seemed too cluttered with effects and affectation - perhaps unsurprising, given their love of library music and other esoterica. On Tender Buttons, though, the band, now slimmed to a duo of singer Trish Keenan and James Cargill, have managed to find a halfway house between this always engaging but fussed-at sound and the resonant, muscular psychedelia of their spectacular live shows. Crafting lyrics through automatic writing, as Keenan has done here, can often reveal pretension and lack of focus, but it gives these songs a subtle power as images interlock with a dream-like logic.
In the two years that have passed since the great Haha Sound was released, most of the members of Broadcast have gone this way or that. To be fair, Trish Keenan (vocals) and James Cargill (everything else) have argued that they were technically the only full-time members of the band from its inception. Still, I'm sure I'm not the only one who's always assumed that the ever-evolving cadre of musicians on the group's two previous full-lengths and numerous singles played a substantial part in making Broadcast one of the most consistently interesting of all contemporary pop groups, and easily my favorite act on the Warp label's roster.