Broken Records, Queen's Hall, Edinburgh
Monday 24 August 2009
This wasn't an occasion for humility. "We just released our record the other month," says Broken Records' singer Jamie Sutherland hesitantly, perhaps hoping that one or two in the audience might decide to buy it. Instead, his band's hometown crowd cheers and applauds back at him, pleased to hear further evidence of their local heroes' success.
Support came from Glasgow's similar My Latest Novel (both are bands with enviable levels of grassroots support and record deals; Broken Records with 4AD and MLN with Bella Union), and probably only the location decided which of the pair would headline.
Another common element both bands share is the suggestion that they bear a strong Arcade Fire influence, and there's some truth in that. Broken Records maintain a somewhat rustic air about them, sporting casual waistcoats, baggy jumpers and fuzzy, perhaps unintentional beards. They play guitar and drums, but these sounds are bolstered by frequent use of double bass, fiddle and accordion.
The pretty, spectral acoustic style of "A Promise" is, says Sutherland, a reaction to those who say music listeners have "no attention span any more". We must be patient during it, he says, to get to the distinctive blend of Russian and Eastern European folk sounds that is "If Eilert Loevborg Wrote a Song, It Would Sound Like This" and the noisy rock reel of "A Good Reason".
Entering into the festival spirit at one point by urging those who've taken the next day off to "dance away your frustrations", Sutherland and his band prove to be a real party band only on rare occasions (the closing "Slow Parade" is truly in the mould of Arcade Fire, for example). At heart, though, they're a group who deal in subtler and longer-lasting pleasures.
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