Broken Records – Weights & Pulleys

Broken Recordspic

Missing the coach the first and second times our introduction to Scottish melodic ‘emoteurs’ Broken Records came with the recently released Toska EP, a release which to be honest underwhelmed despite the impressive craft and ideation oozing through it. This made anticipation for the band’s third album less than enthusiastic but it has to be admitted that Weights & Pulleys makes a more than solid convincing to open up understanding as to why the band is so well thought of. Definitely the album does not light any major fires in our thoughts and passions but a smouldering attraction it certainly makes, one very easy to recommend to fans of the band and of the likes of Doves, Sigur Ros, and Arcade Fire.

Formed in 2007, the Edinburgh band was soon teasing in attention with their folk/indie bred textures and dense emotional enterprise, their first release the ‘gig’ EP inviting plenty of attention and excited praise. As they refined their sound the band successfully shared stages with the likes of Idlewild, Sons & Daughters, and Editors across Scotland before a series of singles including the first, If the News Makes You Sad Don’t Watch It on Young Turks in 2008, saw the band covered in acclaim from all areas of the media and led them to signing with 4AD. The following year was the canvas for acclaimed debut album Until The Earth Begins To Part and the continuation of highly praised shows and festival appearances. The Out On The Water EP also made its appearance at that time whilst 2010 saw the band line-up change into the sextet of Jamie Sutherland (vocals, guitar), Rory Sutherland (violin), Ian Turnbull (guitar), Dave Smith (piano, trumpet), Craig Ross (bass), and Andrew Keeney (drums), and the supporting of bands such as The National and Freelance Whales, as well as second album Let Me Come Home to again intense recognition and support. Three years in the making Weights & Pulleys is the ‘return’ of Broken Records and it is hard not to expect it to be swamped in the same accolade of acclaim as its predecessors from varied and wide quarters.

Released on their own label J Sharp Records and produced by Tony Doogan (Mogwai, Delgados, Belle & Sebastian), Weights & Pulleys br image005moves on from the earlier Toska whilst seemingly continuing its evocative intent. Why the album is a bigger impacting persuasion than the previous four track release is hard to exactly say but it feels like a bigger picture is explored and unveiled rather than mere scenic glimpses as offered by the EP. Also without finding major fuses to raging fires, there is a new spark to a great many of the tracks which captivates and intrigues whilst simultaneously finding an almost anthemic lure to entice senses and emotions. Opening track Ditty (We Weren’t Ready) is a fine example, its thick hypnotic rhythmic coaxing irresistible bait within an emotionally intense melodic swamp. Vocally Jamie Sutherland roars with expression and emotive endeavour, his call cradled in soft but incisive sonic arms and eventually an orchestral caress which equally fires up the senses. It is a richly potent start raising a keen appetite for things ahead, a hope soon sizeably fed by the Springsteen/Petty-esque Winterless Son. Again the rhythms grip attention as they thump out their intent seemingly spurring on the heart of another impressive song.

Toska steps up next and as on the EP fails to entice any real power to reactions even though it is a satisfying and accomplished offering. Sculpted around an evocative narrative of keys, the song merges melancholic breath with an invasion beauty, hope and reality meshed into one dramatic scenario. Musically the song is almost mesmeric but that trigger to light up the passions is a dormant factor, though awake once more with So Long, So Late. Across the release thoughts of fellow Scots Letters and also for less open reasons Josef K emerge with the richest suggestiveness coming with this fully immersive slab of emotional intensive and melodic fire wrapped in drama drenched shadows.

The title track envelopes ears and imagination with a full and heavy incitement of emotion and reflection, a consuming weight of drama and thoughtful provocation which easily pleases if without stoking that again simmering fire in the belly of the album and listener. That poke is provided by the excellent Let’s Call It A Betrayal, an agitated revelry of rampant rhythms, dark throated basslines, and sonic imagination ridden by the persistently impressing vocals. The track tempts, challenges, and simply hits the instinctive provocateur in us all, heights of dramatic expression and melodic dispute walling in the passions.

The following track, Instrumental is just what it says and makes little impression though you appreciate why it is included as it gives a breather within the torrential emotional deluge of the release. The enjoyable You’ll Be Lonely (In A Little While) strolls into ears next with a rhythmic swagger and melodic drizzling which undeniably enthrals but ultimately it is the rhythmic lure which makes the only lingering impression.

The unapologetically emotional Nothing Doubtful comes next to again absorb ears and thoughts. Its opening body and tone has a dulled and shadowed breath, a mono like air which brews up a riveting cloud of intensity before breaking into the light and expanding its full heart and stereo spawned grandeur with delicious flames of brass. Much like the album the song is a slow burner which only impresses more with each encounter to maybe not steal the passions but certainly give them a big nudge.

The album is completed by the folk bred I Won’t Leave You In The Dark and finally All Else Can Just Wait. The first of the pair makes a controlled but keen entrance, that folkish lilt to sound and vocals painting a narrative until the song erupts into another seemingly Springsteen seeded premise but with tantalising sixties pop toxicity carrying a definite sense of The Walker Brothers whilst horns again just excite. Its successor is a slow brooding ballad with a great mix of vocals and pleasingly nagging repetition to its melodies, it all working towards a climactic finale which never really materialises. It is a decent enough end though which like the album gives plenty to make a compelling encounter but not enough to make its case as a constant playlist contender.

Nevertheless Weights & Pulleys is a captivating proposition which will light up the ears of fans and draw a wealth of newcomers with its collection of skilful tracks which combined show just why Broken Records is so highly thought of and at times offer evidence that the band just might have the potential to help reshape British indie rock.

Weights & Pulleys is available on J Sharp Records now!

http://brokenrecordsband.com/

7.5/10

RingMaster 20/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://www.audioburger.com

Sparrow & The Workshop – Murderopolis

hi_res_sparrowEDIT

Sparrow and the Workshop is one of those bands that music always needs, a temptation which is as beautiful as it is shadowed and as expansive as it is intimate. Previous albums, the debut Crystals Fall of 2010 and Spitting Daggers the following year, marked the Scottish band as melodic entrepreneurs of imaginative weaves fusing indie folk and rock pop, songwriters creating rich and emotive escapades soaked in aural colour and resourceful enterprise. The Glasgow trio return with third album Murderopolis, a release which explores their invention for greater and deeper adventure whilst sculpting a kaleidoscope of passion tingling elegance. It is a seduction of evocative textures and mesmeric caresses which quite simply is rather special!

The band consists of Jill O’Sullivan (vocals, guitar, violin), Gregor Donaldson (drums, vocals), and Nick Packer (bass guitar, electric slide guitar, basstard), a threesome which have not been strangers to acclaim certainly since their debut album. The name of Sparrow & The Workshop has equally been wrapped in hungry responses for their live performances which across the time has seen them play alongside the likes of Brian Jonestown Massacre, British Sea Power, Idlewild, Broken Records, Sivert Hoyem, The Lemonhead, Thee Oh Sees and more, as well as numerous festivals to great success. Released via independent label Song, by Toad Records, Murderopolis strolls through another potent plateau which matches the virulent seduction of previous album Spitting Daggers, whilst walking further diverse adventures.

The band arguably unleashes their greatest shadows at the start of the album, though those dark tints are always teasing the senses MurderopolisHiResand thoughts throughout the album musically and lyrically. Opener Valley of Death is a smouldering triumph, a track which instantly sets the release into the strongest wash of acclaim. Bold yet reserved beats and moody melodic provocation pokes the ear first, opening up attention for the as ever sirenesque tones of O’Sullivan. Her voice is one which seduces and caresses the senses but has a nip in its caress which allows darkness to play with the enchanted emotions already inspired. Like a sun in the skies of the dramatic she guides the listener into a warm soak of colour fuelled melodies and harmonies for the chorus, the track then returning to that provocative hypnotic enticement which started things off for the verses. Those dark and expressive leads have the same kind of wanton visual and emotive sway that marked the opening credits to eighties UK TV show Tales Of The Unexpected, a tempting yet menacing seduction. It is a powerful and riveting track, a song with a sixties call to its breath and vocals, which alone seem like a mix of Helen Shapiro, Kristin Hersh, Chantal Clare, and Debbie Harry.

From such a potent start the album retains its compelling grip with the following Darkness, another shadowed call for the passions which sows the seeds with an opening throaty bass beckoning and reined in male vocal chants. It is a slowly prowling encounter, the song walking with intent around thoughts with lone strands of melodic taunts riling up the appetite further. With a touch of The Passions to it the song widens its lure with the again excellent vocals of O’Sullivan before sealing the lustful deal with heated flames of soaring vocals and acidic mastery, crescendos which ignite the fullest appetite. Like the first, the track explores the depths of light and dark with breath-taking craft and imagination leaving an already awoken hunger for more seized by rabid urgency.

The album continues to show it is as diverse as it is absorbing, starting with the stunning Odessa, a song as different to the opening pair as it is a continuation of flawed light and emotional incitement. A melancholic mesh of vocal, keys, and dark strings gently wash through the ear at first before a strong pause makes way for an equally rich narrative of guitar and rhythms which turn up the heat a touch more. It is a vibrant passion sculpted song which haunts thoughts with classy enterprise and emotional exploration, its latent energy brewing up and exploring the limits of the impressive songwriting, its realisation becoming more intense and magnetic the further towards its fiery climax the band drive.

Through the likes of the first single from the album Shock Shock, a meeting of The Pixies and The Shangri-Las in a folk rock atmospheric haunting wrapped in a sonic senses courting ambience, and the tantalising Water Won’t Fall with its scenic paint and crystalline touch, the band raise new emotive adventures whilst the title track is a noir tinted flame of seventies spiced melodic rock and Wicker Man laced folk which transforms the landscape of the album into a new distinct dance of mystique.

Released the same day as the album, May 27th, new single The Faster You Spin sets another pinnacle for the album. Another song rippling with an almost predatory intent through heavier melodic rock feistiness, it conjures the strongest contagion with searing flames of sonic and melodic… well eroticism seems the best word to describe it, complete with an ardour inducing addictiveness to its suasion.

Further songs in the scintillating Avalanche of Lust with its wonderful bass itch and the deliciously incendiary Flower Bombs, a song with an array of bewitching infectious climaxes around slow post punk taunting ingenuity, push the boundaries of the album and listener’s greed yet again whilst the closing pair of The Glue That Binds Us and Autumn to Winter leave an irresistibly effective temptation to start the whole emotive course of triumph again.

Murderopolis is a scintillating release from a band which walks beauty and darkness like no other. If Sparrow and the Workshop have yet to guide you through your and their invigorating passions than this album is the perfect introduction.

www.sparrowandtheworkshop.co.uk

9/10

RingMaster 26/05/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://www.audioburger.com

 

Sparrow & The Workshop: Shock Shock

    sparrow.....

    2011 saw the release of Spitting Daggers, an impressive and enthralling album from Glasgow based band Sparrow & The Workshop which certainly for us triggered a lingering attraction to the imaginative indie folk sounds and invention of the trio. Now they have returned with new single Shock Shock and a new evolution of their already striking presence, the song as enthralling as anything they have produced before but with a deeper expanse and richness of ideas to fully capture the imagination.

Formed in 2008, the threesome of Jill O’Sullivan (vocals, guitar, violin), Gregor Donaldson (drums, vocals), and Nick Packer (bass guitar, electric slide guitar, basstard), soon were drawing critical acclaim with the release via Distiller Records of debut album Crystals Fall in 2010. The following Spitting Daggers elevated their reputation and recognition further with its engaging and evocative creativity whilst tours and performances alongside the likes of Brian Jonestown Massacre, British Sea Power, Idlewild, Broken Records, Sivert Hoyem, The Lemonhead, and Thee Oh Sees only further enhanced their status.

Released on Song, By Toad Records, Shock Shock is the fore taster of the third album from the band due later in the year and a compelling declaration of the new venture in sound the band is exploring. The single finds the band fusing their still vibrant folk enchantment with a feisty fuel of rock and haunting ambience. Within seconds the song offers a sinew and intensity new to previous releases though it is an evolution to their already impacting ideas and imagination which marked their previous album. From the start guitars paint an emotive fiery tapestry to wrap the melodic vocal caresses of O’Sullivan in, whilst the bass of Packer adds inciting yet inviting shadows with its throaty resonance. It is the atmospheric wash though which adds the final provocation for thoughts and senses, its passion courting sonic cloud a slightly abrasive yet golden voice to bring an additional delicious persuasion.

Inspiring loud whispers of The Pixies, Throwing Muses, and The Shangri-Las in many ways, Shock Shock is the perfect invitation and temptation to Sparrow & The Workshop and their upcoming album, a release which is sure to have much anticipation waiting for it after the single ends its own persuasion.

http://www.facebook.com/sparrowandtheworkshop

8/10

RingMaster 11/03/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

www.audioburger.com