I Like The Broken West
At this point in my music listening life, I should just know to go ahead and trust Merge Records, but their eye for talent still astounds me. I remember when Spoon was both a major label and Matador cast-off that Merge scooped up. I thought they were nuts. It’s that kind of business intuition that has led me to be the hundredaire that I am today.
If there is any justice in the world, The Broken West will take off in the way Spoon did. Their first record was a nice slice of Teenage Fanclub-lite, and that’s never a bad thing. But the band’s new album, Now Or Heaven, really pushes the band out of the powerpop formula. While the album is sharply produced, it has the right kind of slickness: it sounds like it came from California in all the right ways.
“Auctioneer” (available for download below) is one of those songs that becomes familiar after only one listenin. I think it’s that descending piano line that makes it, though it also has to do with the fact that it sounds like a lot of things, but its influences aren’t immediately recognizable so it avoids sounding derivative. I’m pretty well-versed in PR Speak, and I’m having trouble coming up with a good Band A-meets-Band B for this one. Which is not a bad thing at all.
Great power pop is never completely au courant (Big Star, the Replacements, Tommy Keene, etc., etc.), so I hope The Broken West doesn’t become one of those bands that I like way more than everybody else.