Broken Poets - Broken Poets
Whether you've heard of them or not, New York launched and Phoenix based alt-rock band Broken Poets have been around for a while. Those already familiar with previous releases like Everything in Nature, Optimism in E-Minor, or Reincarnation will find their latest self-titled four-track EP release to have taken a bit of a different turn. Most of their essence is intact, but not all of the sounds you're used to hearing from them remain, as they take a more minimalist approach. For newcomers to BP, you'll find a sound kindred to some of the grunge era bands of the nineties.
But unlike their previous albums, the first thing that jumps out sonically on this release is that there are no drums. This does two things: it makes you feel the song is always building up to something that it actually isn't, and it also allows the listener to really pay attention to the lead singer Tim McDonald's lyrics. With lines like, "Mystery of all that's good, and every life's a part to play. I guess I misunderstood. I thought that I might be myself some day," one can begin to gain an appreciation for the careful writing McDonald displays in all of his work.
The gem of the EP is "My Selfish Altruism". I found it to have the most energy out of all four songs. Even with just a heartbeat rhythm of a kick drum, there is still a tension held throughout the song. At 2:18 the guitars get choppy which add a very nice changeup. And perhaps not as acoustic as--let's say--a singer and his guitar, all the songs still seem to be stripped down to bare bones (whatever's needed to get the point across).
This EP is quiet and haunting, and chock full of thought provoking lyrics. But where it abounds in lyrical richness it lacks in dynamics. It could be as simple as not having enough drums or percussion--which would have been an easy way to raise some tension and release. The writing, vocal, and musical chops are all there, but the energy that could have (and should have) been there, is not. The sound is a very good fit for cinematic application, but not so much for casual listening.
Broken Poets is an amazing alt-rock band that oozes both style and substance, and normally deliver a wide range of sound in their albums. They are definitely worth listening to, I'm just not sure this four-track EP is (save "My Selfish Altruism").
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