Poking fun whilst busting jams
A while back I showcased Broken Baby who’d blasted onto my radar with their punk splattered anthemic rock that was politically and emotionally charged whilst cramming in clever hooks and plenty of riffs to keep your energy up. Their album came out last week and it shows that Broken Baby have absolutely nailed this type of rock with an album fit for a riot.
There’s a clumsy eye rolling comedic darkness to their opener “The Year of the Fat Man” which pokes sharply at the have’s and the have-nots in this material society. It’s wrapped up in a jaunty punk rock that screams indie-Americana but the wonderfully vivid lyrics are an angsty spit of disgust. Possibly more alt-rock focused is the superbly catchy “Personality Party” with its funky guitar riffs and sassy choruses that have that perfect balance of “I don’t give a shit” vs “But we’re all playing amazingly and this song rocks”. It’s really difficult to pull it off effortlessly but Broken Baby do it with aplomb. They also don’t mind taking their rock to the darkwave dancefloor with the synth and tom drum smasher “Pass the Acetone”. The versatility of sound shines through and it all feels cohesive as they share a similar vibe,
Tone is something I really get into when you can enjoy an album that understands where it wants to take you as a listener. Broken Baby knows that you can’t poke politics satirically for 10 songs straight without pointing that finger at individuals and sending them up comically too and “It’s My Show” is the perfect anthem for that. It’s catchy and has a dark tongue in cheek poke at narcissistic behaviour. I challenge you to not shout along with it. “Hello From the Other Side of Hell” then turns tables towards a more traditional rock number from something you’d expect from a slightly grungier Throwing Muses and hearing this slightly more structured and melodic softer side is a treat because again it shows just how versatile the band are. “In Through the Output” is a manic two-minute riot that channels a circular riff pattern that spins round and round at hyper speed. It reminds me of some of my favourites Nirvana tracks from Incesticide in terms of energy even though it sounds sonically nothing like it.
“Are You Afraid” is epic as Broken Baby bring in choral synths to let massive guitar riffs and direct lyrics really expand and contract to your ears. It makes the track sound so vast and cinematic because of how it tricks your ears into making the guitar solo sections explode – clever stuff. The final three tracks progress towards back towards punk rock and they round off the album perfectly with longer tracks that play with sound and bass – or the lack of it in the emotional “This Is How It Stays The Same” where Amber’s voice turns into Natalie Imbruglia from nowhere.
Ironically, one of the tracks is also called “Why Don’t We Do Anything Fun” and I found Broken Baby’s debut album to be the complete opposite. They put the fun into pointing out the demons in society, in the people around you and in yourself too – but Broken Baby doesn’t dwell on it. They point it out, then smash it about with a wink and a nod whilst charging towards a better tomorrow under an anthemic rock banner. This one’s a definite keeper. Superb.
Recommended track: Personality Party
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