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
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8.7 / 10

8.7 / 10

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