The gap between today’s indie-eclecticism and the rise of the post-hardcore movement seems like a lifetime ago. Why, I can barely even remember a time when one could observe angsty-bro’s yelling, “they’re so post!” at a Saosin concert. No, for better or worse rock has moved on to other postures and young bands best be adapting, or die trying. Broadway is an example of a band that hasn’t exactly learned to “adapt”, or simply can’t. They’re young and competent at what they do, they also play a particularly fossilized genre of modern rock music. This will be hammered into your head by the time you finish Gentlemen’s Brawl, and that’s cool… if you’re into that sort of thing.
Opening with “Party At Sean’s House”, the quartet wastes no time in dispensing its finest song and first ode to late night adolescence. It’s a ham-fisted attempt, suited with technically sound hooks and tightly wound musicianship. This IS the Broadway template and…and they will repeat it for as long as they want to, thank you very much!
It’s really a fairly exhausting listen, both for the tunnel-vision approach and the unfortunate production decisions. Clearly schooled in the pleasant sounds of modern rock, Gentlemen’s Brawl succumbs to the same old “loudness war” pitfalls as countless others have over the past decade. The overly compressed tracks hit the eardrums relentlessly hard, with white noise hi-hats painting fuzz over the whole proceeding. But hey, maybe the last thing this band needs to worry about are late 20-something audiophiles.
On a positive note, Broadway does eventually find themselves hitting a different (kind of) stride. Track 8, “Lawyred” enters the scene in a tight & moody verse, exploding into one of the album’s most effective choruses. And what’s this I hear? A nice drum breakdown followed by the album’s lone (?) guitar solo… Don’t mind if I do. It’s a minor, but welcome change on a record chalk full of pop-core blasts of snotty noisemaking.
Broadway certainly possesses the talent to do, what it is they do; even if it’s not particularly relevant or interesting for 2012. Here’s to hoping they enter a post-post-rock phase, get creative and put their hooks to good use.
Tags: adam bonich, Broadway, Gentlemen's Brawl, Reviews