Broadcast - Ha Ha Sound

Hot on the heals of the recently released "Pendulum EP", Broadcast are back with a brand new album "Ha Ha Sound". Still signed to those innovators of maverick music Warp, the band continue to stretch themselves musically always producing exciting, unusual rich tapestries of work which are almost impossible to label or categorize. Compared to their recent EP, the album is very commercial could be Broadcasts attempt to break into the mainstream and reach a wider audience. However their talent and skill has not been diluted in their endeavour for a more successful career. The tremendous trio of Trish Keenan, James Cargill and Tim Felton are still on fine form.

"Before We Begin" has a filmic almost cinematic quality, an epic 1960s sound. It's scope is pure Phil Spector but without the bombast or over reliance on melodrama. Trish recalls the star quality of Sandy Shaw and Dusty Springfield in a contemporary sound which is St Etienne meets Kraftwerk. The complexity of the lyrics are at odds with the summery atmosphere on this perfect pop song. As the lovely lady herself sings "Here again at the end before the beginning". Another sweet sugary confection is "Man Is Not A Bird". Bizarrely this recalls the 1980s one hit wonders Strawberry Switchblade and has more of a live feel. Less reliant on technology this has more of a traditional song structure.

"Ominous Cloud" has a folky feel full of descriptive lyrics about escape, the romance of the sea and the beauty of self discovery set to a melodic synthesizer led backing. Relaxing, spiritual and even comforting - if the Polyphonic Spree were more restrained and less happy clappy then given a synthesizer they could sound like this. The weirdness makes a welcome return on the alarming "Distorting", a title that thankfully lives up to it's name. Percussion, synths, drums merge indiscriminately with unidentified computerized noised on this dangerous jamming session.

Whether "Ha Ha Sound" will be a commercial success is anyone's guess, but it does deserve to be heard by as many people as possible.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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