Broadcast released their third album to critical acclaim, presenting a refined sound that pushed the psychedelic elements out of the Pram-esque noir of previous outings. The core of stripped back rhythms, synths and robotic vocals remained, brought into fuller colour with a new approach to songwriting and production.
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Clint here with the new Broadcast album. First off, the widescreen production values of 'Ha Ha Sound' have gone and replaced by a more lo-fi minimalist approach that over the course of the album often makes it sound like a demo. The main change is the lack of those fantastic drums replaced by a tinny drum machine and there's no (or very little) bass. The strange thing is though, Broadcast have written some of their best tunes to date - if this album had the preface 'the demo's collection' I'd have thought - wow! genius - they come up with this kind of stuff in their spare time between great albums. Though as an album it just sounds a little anorexic. That said with the likes of the fab single 'America's Boy' onboard this is still a worthy purchase. On Warp.
9/10 Andy L Customer review, 15th July 2013
I had reached the point in my life where I no longer thought that I had favourite bands. There were bands that I liked, even a lot, but I rarely required more than one or two records by them. Into this situation of virtual apathy, I heard some mad woman on the radio chanting 'ra-ra-ra' one night and found that I had to own everything that she and her group had ever recorded. That group was Broadcast and, apologies to your reviewer and all, but 'Tender Buttons' is the best of the lot.
The aesthetic of this album is very different to that of their previous LP, 'Ha Ha Sound', with it's lush, 60's-girl-pop-through-a-blender replaced by harsh synthetic soundscapes, as discomforting as they are bewitching. Take 'Subject to the Ladder', where Trish Keenan's as ever beguiling voice is marooned atop a a chilly, forbidding Moog, tempered with screeching electronic feedback, a spectacular aural representation of her 'cyclone full of feeling/the silence of the moon' (except it's not silent. But you know what I mean. I hope.) But it's not all existential angst set to forbidding musique-concrete (although a bit more of it is). Indeed, Broadcast find the space for a few tunes as well. And what tunes! Opener 'I Found the F' is as infectious as any of their poppiest singles, despite it's downbeat tone, whilst 'Black Cat' utilises ear-splitting electronica and treated guitars to surprisingly joyous effect. As for 'Michael a Grammar', every time it's jittery, gorgeous guitar refrain hovers back into earshot I can barely stop the tears of joy rolling down my cheeks.
Perhaps the only downside to this record is the three brief instrumentals, which lack the substance of the other tracks and previous instrumental efforts like 'A Man for Atlantis'. Instead, they feel like little more than filler. But on the whole, 'Tender Buttons' marks a splendid balance between Broadcast's tuneful past and their more experimental future, a glorious fizzing firecracker of art-pop at it's very best.
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- Tender Buttons by Broadcast
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