Review Summary: Rising like a phoenix out of Sonic Youth's ashes.3 of 3 thought this review was well written
The Sonic Youth comparisons stop here. Broken Water tends to garner a lot of comparisons to Sonic Youth, and while their noisy signature sound and alternating male and female vocals can certainly make one recall Goo or EVOL, the band has a definite unique sound that is all its own. Broken Water is a relatively new 3-piece out of Olympia, WA with a few EPs and only one other full-length. Being a fan of their other releases, especially the Whet LP, I picked this up as soon as I found out it had been released. With Tempest, Broken Water has further solidified its place as one of the most important recent indie rock bands in my collection of music.
As with Broken Water’s other releases, Tempest’s production quality is not the highest. However the lo-fi production that Broken Water has seemed to favor on its releases (whether it be because of money or just because they like it, I have no idea) fits the music perfectly. Their unique sound, blending elements of noise rock, grunge, psychedelia and shoegaze, feels absolutely perfect with lo-fi production.
The album’s name is a fitting description for the way it sounds. Clocking in at just over 30 minutes, the album swirls through shoegazey passages, trudges through punishingly sludgy sections and attacks with harsh guitar feedback, accompanied by a strong, talented rhythm section. The bass sound is thick and fierce, and the drummer for the band probably should get his own paragraph about his talents and the energy he plays with. With vocals trading between all 3 members at times, the singing always stays fresh and interesting. The alternating vocals add to the overall feel of psychedelia that is very present on the album.
Tempest in a way plays out like an experience on a high dose of psilocybin mushrooms. It’s chaotic, violent, noisy, crazy, all over the place, and sometimes is just confounding, and it’s over sooner than you feel like it should be. However it leaves the listener feeling refreshed almost, with a subtle feeling of wanting more.