A little bird told me before I listened to this album that Broken Records were the Scottish Arcade Fire. They’re not, but you can see where some of the comparisons have come from – there’s seven members in each band, live shows are full-on, with instruments being circulated as frequently as joints, and the songs they both create having an anthemic quality. But against this, there are no roaring choral choruses, and no church organ. These are cheap comparisons based on band member figures and the use of the fiddle, but the music is so different. Where the Fire’s music has stemmed from classical training and has an orchestrated atmosphere, Broken Records sound like a traditional Scottish band with a 21st century rock feel.
Their debut album Until The Earth Begins To Part is ten tracks of great song writing, born out of an obvious love for traditional styles and rhythms but with an inability to shake off contemporary influences. Listen to it without concentrating it can sound quite out of date, but on closer inspection it reveals itself to be fresh and inventive, even intricate, and with simply stunning songs.
The most contemporary moment is the first two minutes of -Nearly Home’, the opening track, as the fiddle repeats on itself surrounded by trumpets as gentle as the intro to a post-rock number before vocalist Jamie Sutherland joins in. Track two -If The News Makes You Sad, Don’t Watch It’ is like afunky version of The Smiths with added fiddle/trumpet ensemble. Album closer -Slow Parade’ takes your breath away when Sutherland sings -and here come the drums, and the beat’, just as the drums crash in and a waltz begins. The song is just lovely and, yes, it’s a waltz. Not the most relevant music you’ll hear this year, but Until The Earth Begins To Part is very, very cool.