Album review: Broken Records, "Let Me Come Home"

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Thursday, February 17, 2011; 9:16 AM


Kindred spirits: The Twilight Sad, Frightened Rabbit, We Were Promised Jetpacks

Show: Sunday at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. Doors open at 9 p.m. $10.

The subdued verses alternating with soaring choruses on Broken Records' second release, "Let Me Come Home," beg comparisons to fellow Scots the Twilight Sad and Frightened Rabbit. Indeed, the chorus is never a quiet place on this album. The band aims for crashing cymbals, pounding drums, string flourishes and layers of piano and guitar. It's not an easy task for a vocalist to rise above that, but Jamie Southerland acquits himself well.

Broken Records does a better job here than on its debut of using the few quiet moments in the verses to its advantage. The album is bookended by the tracks "A Leaving Song" and "Home," which should give you a good idea of its dominant motif (of course, so should its title). To that end, the yearning in Sutherland's baritone is appropriate.

Although these might make for good breakup songs, there are enough up-tempo songs to keep melancholy at bay, such as "Modern Worksong" and its anthemic choruses. On the graceful "Dia dos Namorados," Sutherland's plea for love is unlikely to win many hearts: "So I've hatched upon a plan, a scheme of dervish wit/A pilot light to guide me through the caverns of your heart/I take this knife upon myself and gouge a shallow track/Until you love me back." But on strong tracks such as "A Darkness Rises Up," with its pounding piano and swooning strings, misery takes a back seat when the quiet moments are minimized.

- Benjamin Opipari

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