There has been a little bit of a stir brewing around UK rock band Broken Links and after hearing their debut album Disasters: Ways To Leave A Scene a few times it is easy to see why. To be fair it only took a couple of engagements with the vibrant and compelling release to be convinced but such its magnetic and powerful pull the resistance to returning time and time again was weaker than a paper boat in a tempest.
Since forming around four years ago, the trio from Southampton has seen a slow but very solid rise with their potent mix of post punk, rock, and industrial rock with strong whispers of new wave, winning over hearts consistently along the way. Certainly locally they are one of the most talked about bands and with the release of a trio of well received EPs have built a fan base which is loyal and feisty whilst moving farther afield. Influences come from the likes of Joy Division, Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Manic Street Preachers and Bush, flavours which Broken Links evolved into their own unique sound. The result is songs which trigger all the keen responses and taste buds their inspirations ignited, whilst opening up new depths of pleasure for themselves. Their eclectic sound also makes the band an easy and effective fit with many genres which their sharing of stages alongside bands such as British Sea Power, The Boxer Rebellion, InMe, My Vitriol, 22, Official Secrets Act, Fighting with Wire, and The Xcerts shows.
Disasters: Ways To Leave A Scene brings many of the tracks which featured on those early self released EPs with a couple of new ones to create a stirring and towering expanse of emotive and melodic invention. Even though the release strikes a match to open a full magnetism towards its sounds from the start, the more impressive it becomes with time spent in its striking aural arms. Evocative and impactful, the album leaves one breathless and invigorated whilst fully charged to dive into its shadows and immense soundscapes again and again.
The release opens on the sonic simmering of Electrik, though the track soon explodes into a sonically burning sunrise of mesmeric charms. It is impossible not to be rocked back on ones heels by the mighty vocals of guitarist Mark Lawrence and the electronic blistering which ignites the atmosphere of the song like a cascade of hot golden rain. The rhythms of drummer Phil Boulter form a magnetic frame whilst bassist Lewis Betteridge is a prowling and imaginative shadow to the synths and expressive guitar of Lawrence. The track itself is a ravenous mix of Depeche Mode, My Preserver, and Muse, though the one band which did come to mind during the song was Ultravox, the early version before John Foxx and guitars became redundant.
Within Isolation and What Are You Waiting For? Raise the temperature even higher with their thumping urgency and inventive craft. The first is a sinewy romp of energetic vocals and riffs wrapped in riotous intent and acidic sonic manipulation, a barnstormer of an affair whilst the second explores darker corners of the sound with a smouldering heavy post punk resonance and metallic sonic licking of the senses. A Joy Divison starkness combines with barbed Comsat Angels like hooks to leave one drooling and when the atmospheric grandeur of Modern English wraps its emotive muscular arms around the song nothing but passion is apace. It is a track which reaps the riches of the eighties yet still is of the now, the band nurturing and evolving those seeds once again into something quite irresistible and distinct to themselves.
Great tracks come thick and fast, each song without fail leaving deep pleasure and ardour behind their accomplished ingenious lures. Tracks such as the brilliant electro rock/pop triumph We’re All Paranoid, the two part grandeur that is Choice/Decay, with Part I a chilled ambient and slightly disturbing build into the stunning crescendo of Part II, and the swaggering Shelter Your Loss, just captivate and evoke more and more heated enthusiasm.
Hitting even greater pinnacles with the snarling Therapy Sessions In The Dark and potently contagious Cherno, not forgetting the gloriously inciting What Are You Addicted to?, the album expertly and skilfully explores across styles and emotions. Melancholic and reflective, warm and oozing positivity, Disasters: Ways To Leave A Scene is a true giant of a release and surely the first massive and impressive step to wide recognition for Broken Links.
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