Broken Water – Tempest

It’s a wee bit saggy and one paced just at the points in the record’s lifespan when it needs to look from under its fringe and do something different, or give something that the listener can latch onto; it’s just too diffident for its own good.

 

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Like the curate’s egg of lore, Broken Water’s Tempest is good in parts. The good bits are very good indeed, and it starts at a cracking lick, there are lashings of that scuzzy art school guitar sound replete with its seemingly constant companions, the nasal, slacker vocal (whether boy or girl vox, you still get that moping whine) and a steady, thumping, Mo Tucker beat. When it works like on the simple, brassy (and ultimately noise-tastic) Coming Down, or on the strutting and spitting Underground, this record is the tops.

It ends well too, the druggy plod Chantal Seder is about as limp a wallflower as you could wish for and When You Said is a mix of some pretty imperious chords and sardonic vocals pitched low in the mix.

But at times this is a bit of a slog, and that’s worrying emotion to feel when you consider that the LP’s playing time is only 38 minutes. It’s a wee bit saggy and one paced just at the points in the record’s lifespan when it needs to look from under its fringe and do something different, or give something that the listener can latch onto; it’s just too diffident for its own good. Tracks like Yanka Dyagileva and Paranoid don’t do much apart from repeat their initial promise to diminishing effect and a number of tracks are good ideas that could be something more special – like Thread to Connect and Under the River, though the latter does open up into a snarling whirl of electric noise. It’s a shame because on this evidence they have the presence and a way with a guitar riff to make a rocking good LP. Oh well.