Peter Broderick - These Walls of Mine

Broderick invites a lot of ridicule with this record; it’s his attempt at nailing that embarrassing personal revelation at a party. And in for disarming honesty and bloody mindedness, I applaud him.

 

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What a strange record Peter Broderick’s new one is. I suppose the title, These Walls of Mine, gives a clue to what you’re going to get, as does the cover; which presents an image of Mr B almost totally submerged in a lake, looking for like some ghostly headless figure in a nightmare. You could guess from all “this” that it’s an LP showcasing the “dark side of Broderick”, but the thing is this isn’t a dark record at all. It’s often charming and avuncular; but make no mistake, it’s a completely oddball release. The material that populates this LP are nuggets of songs that would normally end up being stored away as an “interesting but inappropriate venture”. It’s a wholly personal work too, these aren’t really tracks that couldn’t find a home elsewhere in his work, rather these are a set of stream of consciousness ramblings and reflections, sometimes heart-breaking, (as in Freyr!, a song all sentimental cat lovers should avoid like the plague), and sometimes plain daft stuff that works in the most unexpected way. Look at the lyrics for Copenhagen Ducks.

"There’s that duck again / Duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck / Duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck / Duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck".

It’s not something that makes you feel this is an LP you should listen to is it? But then, Copenhagen Ducks is a great piece of atmospheric nonsense, worthy of sound-tracking some cine noir or developing into a mood piece for a radio play or some such. Just don’t worry about the ducks.

These Walls of Mine seems to be about communication, or Broderick’s doubts over it, or what his role is as a communicator in these topsy-turvy times. Mock interrogations such as I Do This, or the sometimes cringe worthy, sometimes profound and disarmingly candid confessional, These Walls of Mine I and II are musings on the nature of what drives Broderick to make music, and why he bothers. But regardless of my guessing on his motives in putting this LP out, when viewed just as an LP, as an “LP proper”, These Walls of Mine is not an example of “music” as people present music nowadays. There’s no gaucheness or deliberately undercooked amateurism that is meant to sound edgy; there’s no gnomic obscurantism here. Peter’s not playing the game; he’s wandered out of the Perfumed Garden.

It’s certainly true that when listened to individually, a lot of the tracks could be dismissed as little short of dry wank - the opener Inside Out There, just meanders on and on before losing all its puff - leaving you feeling very unfulfilled and wondering just what the point of it actually was…. And when you consider tracks like this I have no doubt These Walls of Mine will be dismissed as total irrelevant nonsense, or, far worse, quickly hailed as a work of towering genius. But when considered collectively - and by this I mean you have to listen to the whole thing right the way through, at least 5 times, no slacking - the LP delivers in spades, albeit in a weird, unsettling way. I think Broderick invites a lot of ridicule with this record; it’s his attempt at nailing that embarrassing personal revelation at a party. And in for disarming honesty and bloody mindedness, I applaud him.