Rock review: Broken Records: Until the Earth Begins to Part

(4AD)

Earnestness is the keynote of Broken Records' debut album, an intensity of purpose that threatens to engulf its 10 songs. The seven-piece from Edinburgh seem to be at war on two fronts: to live up to comparisons to Arcade Fire and to distinguish themselves from 2008's much-hyped Scots, the similarly melodramatic Glasvegas.

There are moments when they are thrillingly victorious on both counts: when trumpet, violin and cello surge and swoon in the title track and Thoughts on a Picture (in a Paper, January 2009), and particularly in an ersatz klezmer love song addressed to Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, which is as rapturous as it is pretentious. Elsewhere, though, the band sound as though they are straining for gravity. There are moribund string melodies here that would be at home in a BBC costume drama, and when they address global warming, their politicised folk-rock calls the distinctly unfashionable likes of the Levellers to mind.

Contributor

Maddy Costa

The GuardianTramp

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