We are not in a fucking library. We are in raptures...
Rear-facing vistas. Instruments from out of time. Otherworldly keening. These are hardly the most swaggering of rock vibes. They trail along, these concepts, symbiotically attached to everything Broadcast do, fending off potential followers with talonfuls of clichis. Do not listen to this music unless you have read Sartre, they bristle, [I]and [/I]have rebuilt a Moog and done time in the National Sound Archive; for here be monstrous pretension.
It’s a shame they’re so dogged by preconceptions, because Broadcast are actually one of the best bands in Britain. Listen as ‘Hammer Without A Master’, Broadcast‘s final word tonight, with its fierce clubbed-up rhythms and incandescent keyboards, ripples the plaster and buckles the furniture. Not fey. Not pigeon-toed. Just [I]pummelling[/I]. Or the sea life percolating through ‘You Can Fall’‘s breakbeat breakdown; strange bloops and hisses speaking an amphibian rave code. Notice: this band are on Warp, not the BBC’s instructional soundtracks division.
The poised, alien torch songs of Broadcast‘s infamy are in ample supply, of course, illustrated by DNA replication diagrams and footage of spawning corals projected on the back wall. Hey, proto-porn! But liberated from the controlled environs of their studio cages, these perfect lab specimen tunes grow teeth and hair. ‘Long Was The Year’ is half nursery rhyme, half incantation, Trish Keenan‘s tongue and lips performing a bewitching alchemy on plain air. ‘Echo’s Answer’ – possibly the least obvious single ever released off an album – is like going through the wardrobe to a beautiful but damned world.
There is crafted precision here, yes, and runes of warning, and – on ‘The Book Lovers’ – a positively medieval-sounding organ. But these aren’t sentries designed to keep the curious out. They’re clues to lure the restless in, to a place where the stuff of rock music – passion, lust and human frailty – sounds different, but speaks the same tongue. “Come on, let’s go,” offers Trish, and like all great pop offers lift-off.
There are whoops; there is the slosh of pints falling like tenpins in the haste to applaud after every tremulous analogue finale. There is snogging. We are not in a fucking library. We are in raptures.