Broken Records, Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, August 2.
I have seen Broken Records live so many times I’ve lost count. So yes, I should probably declare at the start that I am a bit of a fan…
The thing is, they have earned that fandom so totally. The reality is that they are a truly original sounding band. Sure there are plenty of bands that mix folk and rock sounds – yet none do it quite like Broken Records do. Tonight’s gig, at the start of the Edinburgh fringe and a whole host of great acts playing this venue alone over the next month (Meursault, Withered Hand, RM Hubbert with Emma Polloc k and to top it off, Richard Thompson) there’s a buzz about the place. Edinburgh is where Broken Records are from, after all, so this is a homecoming gig, and I sense that there’s a number of people here tonight who have watched them evolve and prosper over the course of three fine albums, several singles and many fine gigs.
Yes, the lineup has changed but it’s very much as a band that we see Broken Records. Jamie Sutherland leads his men with style and panache but watching his brother Rory and Ian Turnbull effortlessly swap instruments remains thrilling, not least when you know that something special is on its way yet again. There’s now two drummers, and a gorgeous mix of strings and brass is still something great to encounter. There’s no need to waste time sneering at the dull likes of Mumford & Sons, when Broken Records show how it could be done.
There was a gap of four years til the release of this year’s Weights & Pulleys album, and if I’ve not lived with these songs as long as the previous work, it’s simply down to time. The likes of ‘Toska’ and ‘So Long, So Late’ fit in effortlessly with the back catalogue. And as for finishing their first set with ‘Nearly Home’ (an album opener that’s as majestic as The Cure’s ‘Plainsong’) and then come on to start the encore with early single ‘Slow Parade’ is a reminder of a series of awesome concerts here in their hometown over the last seven years.
Long may they run.