Sunday, June 18, 2017

Album Review: Broadside - Paradise

Oh, what was become of pop/punk? All of the bands that were that, or alternative, have taken on new sounds over the years. Some of them tried to go serious, some modern pop (Fall Out Boy), and others have bizarrely taken on 80's New Wave, despite not being alive when that was popular. For whatever reason, those bands that used to make punky music that was fun to listen to no longer want to have any fun. That leaves it to smaller-profile bands to carry the torch, and not depress the hell out of us. Which brings us to Broadside.

That's not to say you can't introduce modern bits into the sound. "Hidden Colors" opens the album by doing this. Among the usual riffs, there's an odd tone that is pulled out of the modern 'blip and beep' pop catalog, but when it's used only as a coloring, it can work. The problem is when bands try to build their entire sound around those fake and phony tones. That makes the music sound sterile and a cash grab.

It can be argued that Broadside adheres a bit too closely to the formula for pop/punk that was written years ago. There are times in songs like "Paradise" where the rhythm and vocal tones are eerily reminiscent of early Fall Out Boy, but that's sort of the point here. Broadside is still a young band, and they're still in the process of absorbing their influences into their own writing. Finding a style uniquely their own is going to take time, and as long as they deliver on the quality, a bit of sameness isn't anything to criticize them for.

That's where I'm happy to say Broadside hasn't disappointed. Maybe it's because I don't spend a lot of time listening to the modern wave of pop/punk, but there's something refreshing about their delivery that really works. Their music is ingratiating, pleasant, and incredibly sturdy. It might be lacking a bit of immediacy, and there isn't any track that stands out as something that will be a timeless favorite, but the album as a whole is solid through and through.

I think the best way to sum it up, at least if you're older than your mid-twenties, is to say that Broadside has made the album Fall Out Boy would have if they decided to go back to their roots after "Folie A Deux" got a lackluster reception (though I think it's a very good album). So yes, Broadside isn't doing anything but patching up the old, worn-out wheel, but there's no shame in delivering something plenty of fans are happy to take more of. "Paradise" is a fine little record.

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