Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN - 16/12
Written by: BL on 03/10/2009 19:02:52
Broadway were a band that pretty much came out of nowhere from the Orlando Florida scene with their 2007 EP "Scratch And Sniff!" - a fairly solid release with a very ear-catching vocal performance from their singer Misha Camacho and some really catchy, but somewhat messy guitar arrangements. Misha in particular though, had some serious pipes and upper vocal range that was rather bewildering (not as weird as Jag from A Skylit Drive though) and combine that with one of the best hooks on the first song of that EP - this band was a name to look out for. Well here we are 2 years on and their full length "Kingdoms" has seen plenty of rotations on my music player and of which I have much to talk about.
After a short (and pointless) intro, the show kicks off with the rocking "Redeeming A Monster". Its full of fast guitars, shimmering melodies and a chorus so memorable you'd be singing it after just a few listens. "Last Saturday" has a slightly more restrained nature, but the chorus is just as big and there is a more emotional feel to it that carries onto the following track "Meg Ryan Would Play You In The Movie" which features some melodic pseudo-breakdowns(?) with some nice little guitar leads played around them, add some singing on top and you start to get the picture that this band obviously has a thing for sounding as catchy and melodic as possible at all times even when the arrangements get a little heavy (which isn't that often). It really gets to a crescendo when "Don't Jump The Shark Before You Save The Whale" explodes from the go with a massive vocal performance from Misha - probably one of the vocal highlights of the entire album (especially with the ridiculously catchy chorus) all wrapped around some literally sweeping guitar work. A bonus appearance from Emarosa's Johnny Craig really seals the deal near the end of the song, his better technical prowess a surprisingly good contrast to Misha's slightly higher range.
"We Are Paramount" has the most screaming on the album and is the heaviest track with some generic screamo horror chord intro. There is still plenty of singing and decent melodic passages, but one really gets the feeling that the heavy aspect were too forced in this instance and becomes a reminder of the slightly more unfocused parts of their EP. It's a bit of a shame that it kind of taints an otherwise decent song and as such is a weaker entry within a catalogue of strong hits. Another pointless and short instrumental track follows before the noise gets upped to max again when "Gotta Love That Southern Charm" grabs you by the neck and throws you right back into the party with a wild guitar solo driven intro, and a chorus so addictive it hurts. "You Bring The Thunder, I'll Bring The Lightning" keeps the heads nodding with a particularly memorable outro that was actually lifted off one of the EP songs and redone with new better sounding lyrics.
"AWOL" is the ballad of the album with full piano focus and heart-felt lyrics. Though it means well (as they always do), there is a rather corny feel to the whole song and you would be forgiven if you wanted to skip the track when every other song has such an uplifting and rocking energetic feel. It's a good thing fortunately that the album ends with the two best songs "Same Thing We Do Everyday Pinky" and "Prom Queen Has No Friends" then. The first is actually a re-recorded version of "He May Be Your Boyfriend, But You're Still A...", the best song from the EP by a mile. While I was initially disappointed with the decision to rewrite the lyrics, the actual end result is a more mature and more meaningful version of the song ("There's nowhere to go, but up from here") with further guest vocals courtesy of the ex-Chiodos vocalist Craig Owens. The final track ends the listening experience on a highly positive note. A fast galloping start, yet another catchy chorus before one almighty outro where Misha once agains is called upon to shatter glass with his voice.
This album is formulaic, so don't expect much experimental elements or anything really out of the ordinary when it comes to this kind of music. The guitar work from Jack Fowler and Bryan Camara while progressive and often filled with technically charged melodies, remains staple to post-hardcore and makes you smile instead of blow your brains out. The drum work and bass is mostly unnoteworthy and is fairly standard and what you expect. However, even though it is formulaic it's still one of the best melodic post-hardcore/screamo albums of the year. These guys aren't out to be the next robotunedvocals-electrosynth-breakdown-crabcore scenekid phenomenon (something they parody using satire to the extreme on their fun "I'm On A Boat" cover). They just write great, catchy and memorable songs and thats where their focus is at (and arguably should be). I can't give this album any more praise due to the obvious musical limitations that stop it from being described by words like "incredible" or "ground breaking", but I think the term "just great" fits them just as well.
Download: Don't Jump The Shark Before You Save The Whale, Same Thing We Do Everyday Pinky, Prom Queen Has No Friends
For the fans of: I See Stars, Saosin, A Skylit Drive
Release date 07.07.2009