Wednesday, 16 September 2009

LIVE REVIEW: Broken Records/My Latest Novel @ Queen's Hall, Edinburgh. 17 August

You only need one peek at tonight’s undercard to gauge the heights Broken Records have scaled. Twelve months ago a verbatim line-up would have seen My Latest Novel skyscraping the Queen’s Hall billing. But here, in the heart of the annual Auld Reekie festivities, the Glaswegian outfit have to make do with warming up the cockles of a sardine-squashed crowd eagerly awaiting the 4AD-signed septet’s arrival.

Not that they care, mind; their dewy-eyed laments rise into the venue’s echoic rafters with an intensity that suggests they’re playing to an audience lofted far above these climes. Much of this shortened set gravitates around the magnificent Deaths & Entrances LP, with the luscious I Predict A Ceasefire underlining a dedication to pristine pop melodics. But their reticent scuffling is overshadowed by the assault that bookends Dear Green Place, disintegrating the track’s softened undertones with a ferocious collision of post-rock glory.

After the unexpected insurgency of My Latest Novel, Broken Records' Balkan-infused trinkets contain the reassuring presence of familiarity. Many moons have passed since Good Reason and If The News Makes You Sad... reverberated around Edinburgh’s underground begging for grander stages, and now they’ve got them they sound, well, quite magnificent, the band writhing in instrumental unison to each cut’s full-throttle throes.

That said, for those who witnessed the group ramshackle their way through dingy sweatboxes the reality was always going to be hard to take – Broken Records are now a professional band, with professional songs. The hair-slick execution of takes from Until The Earth Begins To Part bears all the hallmarks of a group on a mission, ironing out past mistakes whilst also dispersing the graciousness of old.

Yet, all is not lost. In Jamie Sutherland’s room-filling bellow, Broken Records possess a voice that can knock grown men floorwards, while the accompanying clash of instrument – now finely honed and purposeful – sweeps them into a crashing melodic sea. By no means the rampaging force they once were, the band's aches from receding indie-credibility have been appeased by a nevertheless swelling fan-base. And as the thundering applause greets Slow Parade’s finale, Sutherland’s gnasher-filled smile says it all: this is exactly where Broken Records want to be.

First published @ The Skinny

1 comment:

Diamond Dust said...

Nice Music article. You have an interesting writing style mr Hamilton. :) keep up the good work!