The Broadways
Broken Star


4.5
superb

Review

by tom79 USER (76 Reviews)
March 19th, 2011 | 17 replies


Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An overlooked punk record featuring future Lawrence Arms members

It doesn’t happen often, but every once in a while I stumble upon a gem of a record that just resonates so strongly with how I feel in life at the moment. One of those albums you know even from a first listen is special, almost as if it were custom-made. And at this particular time for me it’s The Broadways' only studio album, Broken Star. At first glance Broken Star may seem like your archetypal punk LP, and while some may see it that way, I see it as an intelligent, albeit cynical at times record that stands out to me as one of the finest in the genre.

Broken Star is punk rock heaven; it’s brimming with melody but concurrently raw and gritty. It’s pessimistic in nature but not completely absent of hope. Musically it’s a force, ranging from short songs to longer, drawn out numbers, consisting of quick riffs and fast drumming. So instrumentally it’s your standard punk affair but the songwriting and structures are so good it works. Those acquainted with The Lawrence Arms will hear the familiar but younger vocals of Brendan Kelly and Chris McCaughan, who along with Dan Hanaway provide the vocal duties, and well at that. Having three very distinct sounding vocalists brings some needed variety to an otherwise uniform sound.

Lyrically the album explores socially-conscious themes: unjust politics (Jonathan Kozol Was Right…), police brutality (Police Song), alcohol (Kitchen Floor), general discontent/depression (Upton), the faults of capitalism (We’ll Have A Party), global consumerism (15 Minutes), girl troubles (Red Line), trying to find your place in life (Ben Moves to California) and searching for inspiration and meaning (Restless). Sung with a healthy dose of youthful angst, these songs are at times witty, often earnest and sometimes sarcastic, but always passionate and chock-full of energy.

Amidst all the cynicism about the world we live in lies some hope in the finale The Nautical Mile. With lines like “you've got one thousand people on your side, take it in stride and when there's nothing left to patch the hole we'll swim together” and “Life is bigger, so much bigger than all this”, it is an uplifting, motivational triumph against everything wrong with this world. On top of being an awesome punk record, it’s a comfort to me knowing there are people that felt exactly the same as me. And when songs strike that personal chord, they become more than just songs, but your own songs. Highly recommended if you're a fan of political punk rock, and pretty much mandatory if you're a Larry Arms fan.



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user ratings (26)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Robert Lowe CONTRIBUTOR (4)
The seeds that would sprout The Lawrence Arms and an all around great under appreciated punk album...


Comments:Add a Comment 
tom79
March 19th 2011


3372 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

So...I hardly ever write but I was at work the other day listening to this and jotted down a bunch of
thoughts and when I got home I put this together. It's short but I think it gets my point across, plus
it didn't have a review.

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Satellite
March 19th 2011


20816 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hell yeah, awesome review man. haven't listened to this in forever. think i'll change that tonight.

chris and brendan both sound so different on this.

Blackbelt54
March 19th 2011


4271 Comments


nice review, i need to get this

Digging: Cayetana - Nervous Like Me

Satellite
March 19th 2011


20816 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"the pope of chili town" is a simpsons reference + awesome song.

new TLA album this year in all likelihood. also brendan's involved in some indie film that premiered at SXSW.

tom79
March 19th 2011


3372 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks guys.

Aw man I can't wait for a new TLA album. Even though they've all worked on other things, and the
recent EP was really good, 5 years is a pretty long time.

Blackbelt54
March 19th 2011


4271 Comments


that's awesome i had no idea tla was gonna have a new album

Kiran
Emeritus
March 20th 2011


6001 Comments


must get this

and

new TLA album this year in all likelihood.

whaaaat

Hep Kat
March 20th 2011


15351 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album rules

iFghtffyrdmns
March 20th 2011


7047 Comments


Not a big deal, but I would change "strong" to "strongly" in the first sentence...I think it's more proper to use an adverb there.
Other than that, fantastic review :]

descendents1
March 24th 2011


702 Comments


Tom just wrote a review! This review is ace. Your style never fails man, and it lays down the truth about this album. Awesome.

And you seriously inspired me to write again.

tom79
March 24th 2011


3372 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wow thanks man, means a lot. Good to see you around here.

descendents1
March 24th 2011


702 Comments


So how badly did you want to give this a 5?

tom79
March 24th 2011


3372 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

4.5 is good for now, I haven't had it for too long. But in time likely.

descendents1
March 24th 2011


702 Comments


That's really interesting. I read it from the perspective that you've had this album for quite some time, but then again, I would imagine you'd have reviewed it earlier. I haven't listened to this in over a year but I remember that it was pretty gritty and a little inaccessible. But Kelly's voice (and personality) grew on me. I'll definitely revisit this.

tom79
March 24th 2011


3372 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I've listened to the Larry Arms for years but could never find this album until recently. But the first time I listened to it I knew I've been missing out all this time.

CarterVance
June 19th 2011


37 Comments


I didn't know this featured Lawrence Arms members until I read this review, gonna have to check it out now.

Well-done!

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
July 3rd 2012


50380 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sweet

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