Reviews The Brokedowns Sick of Space

The Brokedowns

Sick of Space

When I stop and look at the discogs, The Brokedowns have been doing what they do for a long time now. What is that, exactly? Well, it’s Midwestern punk that’s angry, funny, heavy, and harmonic. There are contradictions in plain sight in that description, and that diversity in sound is what makes the band so interesting. They seamlessly pull it all together in 2-minute blasts that, to pull straight from the label’s description “is a little weirder, a little smarter, and a little heavier-sounding than your average punk band.”

It’s pretty on point. The band has a strong Dillinger Four influence and, at times, singer Jon Balun even sounds a bit like Paddy. While that influence rears its head, such as in the brilliantly titled “Mommy, Can I Go Out and Chill Tonight?” it’s also a lazy description. The Brokedowns use D4-style guitar leads and vocal tradeoffs, but their riffs are more angular and jarring, using come-together choral harmonies to provide melodic flow. Outside of the melody it’s coarse and often brutal, even if the lyrics get borderline ridiculous (in a good way) as they kick down one metaphorical target after another.

Vocals are split primarily between bassist Balun and guitarist Kris Megyery, and but there’s no obvious dynamic change when the microphone trades off. There are 13 songs here and each fit within that style The Brokedowns have established, yet they each hold their own without the doldrums of sameness that plagues most punk records where I’d use similar terminology. They light a fire and keep it burning for 13 songs, each song with a different crackle, spark and smoke pattern. File that one under dumb metaphors on my end.

To get more specific, I’ll dig into two songs. “Sick of Space,” the titular track, is a perfect example of the band as a whole. It has a bouncy pop rhythm with a memorable singalong chorus that’s a little bit tongue-in-cheek but more earworm than cynicism bomb. Balun shouts out vocals as the song builds to the repeated chorus. Meanwhile the lyrics, here and in general, are satirical and humorous, yet discussing serious, complex ideas with the nuance they deserve. The end of “Sick of Space” is a kind of annoying mash-up of “save more money” radio ad clips, but otherwise it’s a poppy jam with a lot of depth beneath the surface. In “Led Zeppelin III,” the rhythm is again bouncy but with angular guitars that give a sense of discord as the vocalists trade off. The clean, harmonic choruses pull it back into the accessible realm but there’s always that second layer with each song. That’s The Brokedowns in a nutshell, and Sick of Space is the latest, possibly best addition to their catalog. 

8.7 / 10Loren
KFAI - Roar of the Underground
Leave a comment

8.7 / 10

8.7 / 10

Share this content
Related features

One Question Interviews The Brokedowns

Posted March 10, 2015, 11:25 p.m.

Jon Balun (The Brokedowns) SPB: You scream a lot. Has that gotten easier or harder on your voice as you're no longer in your ...

One Question Interviews The Brokedowns

Posted Feb. 3, 2014, 6:15 p.m.

Mustafa Daka (The Brokedowns) SPB:Are there any Albanian bands you’d recommend? Daka: Unfortunately, Albania hasn't produced much in the way of rock ...

One Question Interviews Brokedowns

Posted Dec. 9, 2013, 8:53 p.m.

Kris Megyery (Brokedowns) SPB: How has parenthood changed playing in a band for you? Megyery: This question was sent on June 6th which happened to ...

KFAI - Root Of All Evil
More by The Brokedowns

The Brokedowns

Life Is a Breeze

8.5 / 10 The Brokedowns - Life Is a Breeze album cover

The Brokedowns have come a long way. That’s not to say they were torchbearers of suckitude earlier, but early reviews of the band were festivals of namedropping and comparisons to ...

The Brokedowns

Species Bender

8.5 / 10 The Brokedowns - Species Bender album cover

Three long years after New Brains for Everyone rallied cynical drunks everywhere, the Brokedowns have returned with another full-length, this time for Chicago’s Red Scare Industries. From a stomping wooly ...

Related news

Labels Red Scare at age 15 (and a new comp)

Posted Aug. 9, 2019, 12:04 p.m.

Red Scare Industries has announced a new compilation to celebrate the label's fifteenth anniversary. The record features 15 unreleased songs, including new material from Sundowner and Sincere Engineer, plus ...

Shows T1 Fest in Joliet

Posted June 23, 2019, 6:30 p.m.

A new festival, the T1 Festival, will run on NOvember 8-9 in Joliet, featuring several Illinois punk bands playing to raise funds for the JDRF, (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). The ...

Records Red Scare Industries, Direct Hit!, The Brokedowns for RSD16

Posted April 4, 2016, 8:53 p.m.

This April 16, also known as Record Store Day, recent Fat Wreck signees Direct Hit! will pair with Elgin, IL's The Brokedowns for a new split 7". The Brokedowns ...



Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.