Broadcast – Ha Ha Sound

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Album Review by Mark Bayross

Birmingham’s Broadcast return with their second album after the well-received debut THE NOISE MADE BY PEOPLE and it has to be said that fans who fell in love with the first record will re-live the romance all over again with this release.

The off-kilter lo-fi instrumentation is present and correct, as are the shuffling beats and ethereal vocals of Trish Keenan, with the result that Broadcast sound not unlike Stereolab playing John Barry songs in a David Lynch film.

Unfortunately the mixture of weird and twee that I found irritating about their PENDULUM EP is stretched over 14 tracks here, with very little respite. There is occasionally a pay-off, though: the muck-about BLACK UMBRELLAS leads into the sublime OMINOUS CLOUD and suddenly the world of Broadcast seems to make sense.

But most of the time, it’s a fine line they tread. The Aphex-like DISTORSION may serve to remind listeners that they are on Warp, but it doesn’t achieve much else, while winsome ghost-in-the-machine ballads like BEFORE WE BEGIN, VALERIE and THE LITTLE BELL sound too alike to register much interest.

This is undoubtedly a wavelength thing – and I’m just not on it. The Hoxton crowd will buy this anyway…it just doesn’t do much for me.

3 stars