Broken Records
Until the Earth Begins to Part


3.5
great

Review

by Adam Knott EMERITUS
July 17th, 2009 | 14 replies | 6,059 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Sprawling, orchestral and Scottish; beautiful and crafted indie-rock that hints at future greatness.

If there's an accent in music which lends itself to sounding passionate or emotional, there's no doubt it's a Scottish one. You can see it in a range of pop artists that have enjoyed success over the last decade, from Paolo Nutini's personable mumbles to the heartfelt fragile pipes of Frightened Rabbit's Scott Hutchison, the latter serving as an appropriate point of comparison for the delivery of frontman Jamie Sutherland. It would be entirely inaccurate to imply much more than a geographical similarity exists between the two bands, though, since Broken Records are a notably different proposition to the majority of their countrymen. The Edinburgh-based seven-piece's intentions are perfectly clear as soon as their debut record's opener begins; violins, pianos and grandiose arrangements form the foundations of a sprawling, massive indie-rock album. Broken Records have been hyped as the UK's Arcade Fire, and that comparison is remarkably astute.

Still, there are differences. Until The Earth Begins To Part feels softer, smoother-edged than anything produced the other side of the Atlantic; its production is geared towards an epic sound which at times calls to mind a more accessible Godspeed You! Black Emperor with the obvious inclusion of Sutherland's fragile vocals. Also noteworthy is the occasional influence of Celtic folk on the album's more rocky numbers like Eilert Loevborg and A Good Reason; the violin lines, especially, are diverse enough to determine multiple atmospheres, from the building tension of Nearly Home to the beautifully apocalyptic Wolves. In Earth, Broken Records have deliberately brought about enough changes in tempo and aesthetic to suggest repeat listens are not only plausible, but wholly necessary to appreciate the enormous soundcapes on offer.

Even when Earth slows down or strips itself to just a piano, like on the gorgeous A Promise, it manages to feel important and purposeful; there are political and social messages all over the lyrics of tracks like If The News Makes You Sad, Don't Watch It, but the sound in general doesn't tend towards optimism or pessimism more than it does towards beauty. There's an uplifting quality to the majority of Broken Records' breakthrough LP which marches with triumphant confidence at all times, best illustrated by the growing, almost-ceremonial climax to A Promise. Sometimes, the band try a bit too hard to be epic, and there's no doubt that Earth is an album which takes itself desperately serious for the entirety of its 40-minute runtime. Despite the occasional pretentiousness, though, it never crosses the line into sounding pompous or ridiculous, and despite the appeals to operatic climaxes, the band still sound strangely grounded.

Until The Earth Begins To Part hints at brilliant things to come from its creators - it's obvious that they take influence from Arcade Fire, but they take it in a more compelling and comprehensive direction. Broken Records aren't into musical jolts or doing things by halves; they craft shamelessly grand pop songs with punch, melodic sensibility and permanently-building tension, and they know how to bring about a climax, too. Nothing sounds apathetic or half-assed, and while that occasionally lends itself to over-extravagance, essentially it's what holds this impressive and euphoric debut record together. From start to finish, there's not a single word that comes out of Sutherland's mouth that's not positively dripping with emotion and sincerity, so if you like your rock music massive, orchestral or just damn beautiful, you shouldn't let an album like this one pass you by.

"Watch the TV, tell me what you see - any hope in love, or realised dreams? That's what I wanna see; no more pain, no more tears, no more grief."




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user ratings (8)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Knott-
Emeritus
July 17th 2009



10195 Comments


from the points of comparison, these guys should probably be from Canada lol.

this is great get it!!

Waior
July 17th 2009



11451 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hey, I'm Scottish. "The Edinburgh-based seven-piece's intentions are perfectly clear as soon as their debut record's opener begins; violins, pianos and grandiose arrangements form the foundations of a sprawling, massive indie-rock album" is also a great sentence.

I'd check this out only to get another rating on here, but this also sounds really good.

Don't fail me again, Adam!

Douglas
July 17th 2009



9098 Comments


Another swell strikey review.

Sounds good also, might check this out.

Digging: James Vincent McMorrow - Post Tropical

Knott-
Emeritus
July 18th 2009



10195 Comments


highly recommended if you like AF & a bit of baroque pop and enjoy epic music

not recommended if you can't stand bombast or a bit of effort in your music

i'm surprised by the total absence of appreciation this has here (it was in the database but i'm the only person to have rated it so far..) - hopefully people will check this out because it's damn good.

marksellsuswallets
July 18th 2009



4848 Comments


You had me at Scottish...

If this fails to impress like FACT did, I might have to start distrusting your opinion...

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 18th 2009



20856 Comments


Do they sound anything like The Proclaimers? ;-)

As Dougie said; Another swell Strikey review. My list of upcoming listens is not the way my list usually looks & it's all because of you. Right now, that's a compliment.

Knott-
Emeritus
July 18th 2009



10195 Comments


Haha, fortunately not, Davey :p

This has fairly polarised opinions across the net; some people say it tries too hard to be epic, and others think it's the best debut of the year so far. I wouldn't go as far as the latter, but I'm playing it non-stop at the moment.

Waior
July 18th 2009



11451 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This sounds really quite nice. Singer is occasionally sounds like a disconcertingly abused Bruce Springsteen but... these things grow with time...

So climactic.

Knott-
Emeritus
July 21st 2009



10195 Comments


I still can't stop listening to this album.

Like, I find myself staying awake far later than I should just to listen to it.

Knott-
Emeritus
September 21st 2009



10195 Comments


So this is becoming one of my favourite records of 2009.

Kiran
Emeritus
October 23rd 2009



6001 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

don't know what to make of this. i was gearing up for something more along the lines of frightened rabbit or even a better version of glasvegas when 'scottish', 'indie' and 'epic' were mentioned but i still enjoyed it so idk.

Knott-
Emeritus
November 14th 2009



10195 Comments


this could do with more attentions. ghosts is fucking beautiful.

GamemakerPW
May 31st 2011



63 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I know I'm late to the party on this album, but just heard it and can't believe it never got more attention. Never thought it sounded like they were trying too hard...just great music, this has to be at least a 4

scotish
December 11th 2011



835 Comments


just saw them live and

...holy tits

that's about all i can articulate right now



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