Broken Records - Let Me Come Home (4AD)

Second offering from hyped Scottish troubadours.

Released Dec 21st, 2010 via 4AD / By Jack Sibley
Broken Records - Let Me Come Home (4AD) Broken Records have gained a great amount of critical acclaim since last year’s Until the Earth Begins to Part. Their first single off this album even appeared in BBC Radio 6 music’s shortlist for the best tracks of 2010. So they are shooting fast for the stars but is this album really a winner or just an inevitable symptom of our current musical climate?

I think we all have a problem with the mainstream folk-pop movement of late spawning kids in tight corduroys who play the fiddle and think they’re hobbits. But Broken Records prove that this movement can still be executed in a skilful way. Take ‘Ailene’ with its sea shanty rhythms, authentic folk melodies and an intelligent use of a violin (so hard to find). All this and you can breathe a sigh of relief and see that these guys aren’t just another group of hipsters looking to cash in. On top of this there are a number of different influences on this album.

Unfortunately these are sometimes all too clear. The opening track ‘A Leaving Song’ shows clear elements of contemporaries such as Band of Horses or Elbow. Also, the single ‘A Darkness Rises Up’ has an intro that makes us want to scream ‘Last Night’. The indie influences are almost too predictable and a lot of this album feels like we’ve heard it before. Are they an indie group that know their music but lack the creative force they can see in their peer group? They shine through sometimes and create something genuinely innovative like the track ‘You Know You’re Not Dead’. The bridge here follows a strange chord progression that fits a ghostly fiddle line. The only problem is that the rest of the track is little more than boring.

Add to all of this an atmospheric wash that is almost Icelandic in its blurring of definite features and a disappointing lack of evolution from the last album. From all this we can see that Broken Records are sure of the sound they’re going for and have the ability to create it in an expert fashion. Unfortunately they lack any independence or ingenuity. I’m glad to say that these guys could go far if they keep plugging away but just don’t expect them to come up with anything new.