Reviews Broadway Calls Sad in the City

Broadway Calls

Sad in the City

Sad in the City doesn’t mince words. Opening with the lines of “If my country collapses/ can I crash on your couch…” in “Never Take Us Alive.” The band play super melodic pop-punk that focuses more on singalong harmonies than kick, punch and bite, but the lyrics give a little more attitude than you might guess just listening to the beat or an instrumental take.

The record itself is political minded without being about politics. It’s about the frustration of living in a divided and anxious society and concern about what comes next. That’s the plot. The foundation is pop-punk that was weaned on Green Day and Lookout! Records, then came of age during the early Aughts pop-punk cavalcade of anthemic, melodic big stage bands. There are a lot of shades of both of those styles, merging somewhat in the middle. I even hear hints of Billie Joe Armstrong’s vocal style in songs like “Always on the Run” and “Slick New Truth.” For good measure, throw in a dose of Teenage Bottlerocket catchiness.

Unlike Green Day, though, the majority is a little more focused on the harmony than the chorus. It has the big group vocals and cathartic melodies of the early 2000s from a point-of-view of the 1990s everyman. And true to the style across every era, it’s a steady mix of first and second-person perspective, drawing a connection between “you and I” rather than waxing poetic or reading political textbooks at us.

This is all context, of course, because Broadway Calls are their own band and do their own thing. Oh, and I should mention that Sad in the City is their first full-length since 2013. In other words, they’re contemporaries to many the names I dropped, not merely “influenced by.” The band falls somewhere in the middle of the two eras I mentioned, but this record features modern bombastic production with a crisp, clean sound where the guitars and vocals deliver most of the pop and the rhythm section gives a steady backbone that steers the ship.

In fact, it straddles a lot of lines and is hard to fit into a neat marketing category. The album is personal – but unapologetically socio-political at the same time. It’s singalong in a way that fits clear genre terms – but the songs aren’t cookie cutter Ramones-core at all. “Radiophobia” has a trajectory of key changes that shift the mood; “Always on the Run” uses a more complex structure, and the bridgework is creative throughout. At times it’s dramatic and at others it’s proletarian. It’s complex, like a real person. “Meet Me on the Moon,” (reviewed previously as a lead single) really epitomizes it: Listening to Sad in the City feels like hanging out with a long-time friend. The stories take new twists and turns throughout the night, but it’s always the same voice: one that’s relatable, honest and down to earth. Sure, it’s crisp and produced melodic pop-punk. But it has those intangibles that the Lookout! bands had that made it cross boundaries and feel authentic. Don’t think of it as pop-punk, think of it as leather jacket rock.

7.7 / 10Loren
KFAI - Undead
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7.7 / 10

7.7 / 10

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