Broken Records – Let Me Come Home (4AD) 25/10/2010
November 4, 2010 by Joe Morrison
There’s always a thin line between being emotive and irritating in music (take note Mr Blunt). You can really grab a listener with some pounding drums, a string section and some dramatic piano arrangements if it all fits together, or is at least necessary.
Edinburgh based heart-string pullers Broken Records thankfully master the balance with their intentionally majestic second album Let Me Come Home, yet where they refrain from irritating you, they will never set your world alight.
For you see, the record contains some solid nuggets of melancholy. A hint of Radiohead always goes down well, like in the riff of opener ‘A Leaving Song’, which actually develops into a soaring Morning Runner-like anthem, with just enough vocal emotion and song-writing nous to keep you interested. ‘A Darkness Rises Up’ could even be a track to keep the likes of Bruce Springsteen interested. Despite being over all too quickly, its romantic string/piano crescendo flitters and sparkles alongside Jamie Sutherland’s tender sounding vocals. The similar ‘You Know You’re Not Dead’ builds upon this and has all the elements of an epic anthem, finishing with finesse it sits alongside the aforementioned nicely.
Although, throughout the album you’re very aware that Broken Records are trying hard to grab you, and judging by the aforementioned tracks you know that they can. But there’s grabbing you and then there’s telling you something, and for long periods of the album they just don’t say enough.
In fact, on some songs you’re left quite disinterested and underwhelmed. Despite all the heart and passion you’re offered throughout, in the end you just end up slap-bang in the middle of the road. Possibly it’s the age old situation of ‘too much of a good thing’. But, to be fair, Let Me Come Home does not leave you frustrated, but you’ll never find that Arcade Fire greatness.
In fact, the most powerful moment on the record can be found on its most tender track, ‘Home’. The string led ballad sits so refreshingly simplistic at the end of the at times exhausting collection, you can’t help but wonder if this should of been their approach throughout, but I suppose…too much of a good thing is well…