Contexture: Gods, Men, And The Infinite Cosmos

Written by: TL on 24/06/2015 16:37:55

Older scenesters may remember Florida band Broadway back from 2009 when the song "Same Thing We Do Every Day Pinky" made a splash from off their debut album "Kingdoms". Regrettably, the band took forever to finish the follow-up, 2012's "Gentlemen's Brawl", on which the band switched style from early A Skylit Drive-ish, high-pitched emocore to trying to be a Four Year Strong-ish easycore, with the result being so bland that it hardly required much effort to have forgotten mostly everything about it here three years later.

In fact, it's almost a bit of a surprise to have see the band back in action, and more so when you realise how. Because their newest idea has been to come back with a concept album called "Contexture: Gods, Men, And The Infinite Cosmos", which is supposed to tell something of a sci-fi story about a "space bounty hunter", yet still includes plenty of completely contemporary profanity about such things as being "marooned on some shitty fucking planet". Unfortunately, if there's more context to this story to be found in the album's physical material, this hasn't made its way to the forefront of a handy Google search, and since this review is based on the Spotify version of the album anyway, readers will have to suffice with observations about the music.

As for the music, Broadway is commonly lumped under the "post-hardcore" umbrella term, although a precise description would be something more like bastardized modern hard rock. There's little in terms of post-hardcore's screams or heavier, more abrasive musical qualities here. Instead, there is at least a lively serving of guitar work, often taking on slightly funky and/or sleazy qualities, being delivered from Sean Connors and Felipe Sanchez, the trio's two remaining current instrumentalists.

If you tune in on their work, along with the competent drumming, "Contexture" is actually made of music somewhat above the average. Unfortunately, singer Misha Camacho sounds just terrible, and he is almost constantly in the lead. He is a clear example of a singer who, likely out of infatuation with the post-Saosin wave of high-pitched mallcore music, opts to sing almost exclusively in the upper range of his voice, making almost all his notes sound screechy, flat and downright grating on the ear. It doesn't help that it sounds like he's straining to a point where it's probably more Melodyne than skill that keeps his recorded performance in tune, and one winces at the thought of what he might sound like live.

This of course completely sabotages a songwriting effort that would otherwise be somewhat solid. You can hear that the band has taken care to come up with some clear hook melodies and situated them efficiently in the songs' structures, and throughout the first four tracks on offer, the impression is that they could be at least okay with some quality singing. The almost Jason Mraz-ish acoustic pop doodle "Found You" feels completely out of place in the middle of the album though, and really one wonders why the closest to a proper song, "I Am Man" at track nine, has been left all the way down here at the bottom of the tracklist. The song even starts with a bit of singing that sounds like a relatable human being, though Misha soon heads back up into screeching territory. Apart from "I Am Man", it's a telling sign of a bad record that its other most notable song is also probably its dumbest one, namely "dOPPLEGANGER", which serves up a portion of chugging metalcore the way we all know it, complete with a ridiculously boneheaded breakdown towards the end, set to the growled refrain of "I AM AN ABOMINATION".

All things considered, "Contexture" is a record Broadway probably should not even have considered making after the fiasco that was "Gentlemen's Brawl". The genre they broke through in has fallen dramatically out of favour, and they seem like they're desperately trying to cling to gimmicks in lieu of having an actual personality to their band. This album feels like the musical equivalent to young adult literature and bad manga, and other than easily impressionable teens, any discerning music fan will likely avoid it like the plague.


Download: I Am Man, dOPPLEGANGER
For The Fans Of: Escape The Fate, A Skylit Drive, Crown The Empire

Release date 08.06.2015

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