Broken Records -’Until The Earth Begins To Part’ (4AD)
This debut album has certainly been anticipated for quite a while. In fact, as the band’s profile in Scotland has grown, it’s probably not an exaggeration to say that this is the most anticipated debut by a scottish act since Glasvegas. I first saw them supporting Emma Pollock as long ago as August 2007, and subsequently saw them supporting both Idlewild and Sons & Daughters. As well as being supported by this blog, Song, By Toad has also championed them for a long time; indeed, they were the first band to do a session for him.
Over the course of 2008, the band released three limited 7″ singles (still a handful of these available at Avalanche Records in Edinburgh if you act very quickly). In 2009, 4AD records announced one of the biggest coups of their thirty year existence, that they had signed Broken Records, along with The Big Pink and Camera Obscura.
With this anticipation, there’s always the horrible possibility that things could go horribly wrong. But the seven piece from Edinburgh are quietly very self-assured and have delivered a debut that is every bit as good as we could have hoped for and more. As I type this, I’m listening to it for the fourth time since the album dropped on the doromat yesterday. It’s one of those albums that stands up to repeated playing in a very short space of time.
Trying to pigeonhole Broken Records is a waste of time, when what you should be doing is just listening to them. With seven of them they can produce music to make you dance, or music to make you cry. They have, bizarrely, been compared to how Nirvana might have sounded if they’d been formed in belarus instead of Seattle. This is way off the mark. Over the course of ten songs, all stand alone, and all making up a piece of this body of work, consistently sound like few acts I’ve ever heard.
Certainly the use of violin and ‘cello makes for aspects of what are still lazily called ‘folk’ and (shudder) ‘world’ in 2009, but the passion is raw and honest enough for punk. So don’t waste your time trying to work out what it fits under, instead, enjoy what is some of the most exciting and energising MUSIC to come your way for many a year.
Without a doubt, a very strong contender for album of the year.