Release Date: Jan 11, 2011
Record label: 4AD
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock
There’s an earnestness to [b]‘Let Me Come Home’[/b] that threatens to kneecap the record and leave it bloodied in a ditch. Frontman [b]Jamie Sutherland[/b] never sings: he intones, he howls, he growls and bellows but never does he do anything as unrefined as merely ‘sing’. His band, meanwhile, conjure such merry hell behind him, throwing fistfuls of strings and heartbeat basslines at the soaring choruses, making [a]Broken Records[/a]’ second album take flight like last year’s debut [b]‘Until The Earth Begins To Part’[/b] seemed it might, but never did.
Let Me Come Home, the sophomore effort from Edinburgh, Scotland’s Broken Records, dials down the stadium-sized production that nearly swept away 2009’s promising Until the Earth Begins to Part and replaces it with a rawer, nervier feel that both helps and hinders the group’s painfully earnest blend of Springsteen-meets-Arcade Fire indie rock. Stripped of its nosebleed-section bleat, the band storms out of the gates with “A Leaving Song,” a spirited romp that will likely draw comparisons to fellow countrymen Frightened Rabbit. The song’s build feels organic, and it dutifully sets the tone for what follows, even if what follows is fairly forgettable, despite the fact that the band obviously really, really wants to connect.
The barrels of cheer available on the second album from Edinburgh sextet Broken Records might be apparent from the influences singer Jamie Sutherland cited in the summer: Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska, Nick Cave's Murder Ballads, as well as films such as Badlands. Although a dazzling live band, Broken Records are hampered by a range than stretches from "windswept" to "storm-tossed". For all that Sutherland's lyrics are largely impenetrable beneath the layers of guitars and organ and violin, one senses elemental misery is the theme.
Looking back over DiS's almost-positive DiS review of Broken Records’ first album, Until The Earth Begins To Part, it seems that the problem with it was that it was stuffed with unused potential. Now, as the band release their second album, this is clearly a problem they haven’t quite overcome. On one hand, they are writing heartfelt rock songs with a folk edge that Springsteen would happily groan over.
With their debut, last year's Until the Earth Begins to Part, sweeping Scottish sextet Broken Records announced themselves as outsized emoters who never met a baroque chamber arrangement they didn't covet. They then pitched themselves to an audience of Caledonophiles who worship the crashing songcraft of Frightened Rabbit, the Twilight Sad, and We Were Promised Jetpacks. Compared to their fellow countrymen, however, Broken Records sounded overcooked: too intense for their glossy production, too self-serious to be relatable, and, overall, too reliant on over-the-top dynamics.
Songs that pierce the centre of the hearts that they’ve sprung from. Mischa Pearlman 2010 As a personality trait, pompous isn’t the most flattering description, insinuating affectation and self-importance. Oddly, though, when it comes to music, that word doesn’t always have to be a pejorative term. Shearwater’s recent albums, for instance, have been grandiose, dramatic affairs, their songs carried by intricate, complex orchestral arrangements that elevate them far above the average tune yet, at the same time, manage to render them accessible and emotive.
The music on Broken Records’ sophomore effort, Let Me Come Home, is an alluring blend of anthemic, and sometimes melodramatic, indie-rock and emotional balladry that draws comparisons to Coldplay and Snow Patrol with a hint of Nick Cave’s introspective gloominess. And while these similarities pervade, there’s also a certain Waterboys feel to it thanks to the wistful vocals of Jamie Sutherland. Not polished like Chris Martin (Coldplay) or Gary Lightbody (Snow Patrol), Sutherland adds an emotional and organic element to the songs while singing in more of an everyman’s voice with a pleasing hint of his Scottish brogue.