Broads - Hellas

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Band Broads
Album Hellas
Country United Kingdom
Genre Folk, Ambient
Link https://broadsofnorfolk.bandcamp.com/
Release date (album) 2015
Release date (review) 2016/02/01


Review

It is neither. Hellas is neither like Care & Handling nor is it like the single Fang People / eoh. It is something different. Less contemplative then the former and less sparkling maybe than the latter. This latest output is comparably complex and with a lot of facets that neither of the previous two releases had, which has also to do with their overall length; definitely shorter in both cases. And what about their eponymous album, then? Well, what Broads might have been at some point is not what this band is right now and this latest output is therefore a walk in a different direction. There is an evolution, but not a predictable one.

“Conceptually unstable” – a musical schizophrenia –, this impression obtrudes itself while listening to the release. Each track is different. Each time with a slightly shifted mood or setting and the listener never knows where the road will go to and what will come next. Melancholy and a positive spirit appear quite close to each other, just as if each of these would actually depend on one another. Concreteness and vagueness are close neighbours as well. Also instrumentals and vocal-driven tracks appear side by side. Whether the term bipolar would be appropriate should be left open though.

Ambient and drone are the basic foundation of the band's music, while noise and vocals are sometimes more or sometimes less an addendum. Melodies unfold themselves not always willingly and like to remain in a realm of uncertainty. Sounds have a distinct gravity to them on this album and like to return to a level of stability again, should they have received a push in some direction. Broads' music is not hectic, it progresses gently and without any kind of necessity. It plays with dynamics like in Soft Homo. While in this track in particular some motives create the impression of dynamics, the more the track progresses the more some kind of soothing texture takes over and with it the track fades out in the end. Paris Garters on the other hand is a different kind of story with its focus on harmonies and atmosphere. It is a track, whose melody really take you along and fascinate with its warm sounds and easiness.

Hellas is a broad album, like the country to which it refers to. It has a lot of facets and impressions and cannot be limited to one element alone, akin to this place in southern Europe. A lot can be discovered and a lot can be found in it. These discoveries do not necessarily have to be pleasantries, but there is a chance that at least some of these are able to spark some amount of curiosity. Broads' music breathes the air of curiosity, of willingness to give things a try and to present these experiments to the public. It is an antidote to all the generic and well-planned stuff that is out there, whose conceptual breadth does not exceed the width of a tea spoon.