Broadcaster – Tightrope Walker (Jump Start Records)
Jump Start Records
Link: Jump Start Records on Bandcamp
At one point in my life, I couldn’t wait to get home and pop in something like a Descendents album or Samiam release spinning on vinyl. Feeling those modern pop punk songs at the time and a band pounding their hearts out on a platter for you to relate to, it really meant something.
Broadcaster is supposed have the same effect or so my first impression implied. I am much older now, but I can still see where a band like this comes from and what they could mean to you. Personally, I wanted more out of this trifecta of pop punk verbage. Maybe I wanted more grit and singing at the top of their lungs until they are on the verge of passing out with passionate rage. These are the things that made the genre in the ‘80s so great, and leaves the debate of which is more important, carrying a note or stressing that note passed its breaking point because you are pouring your heart out. The Descendents did a great job at making that tune of puppy love so great, while Samiam wanted to rip their own hearts out.
Even with something like Weezer’s Pinkerton, you felt that sense of desperation in the songs. The title track to Tightrope Walker tries to spit out lyrics with a singed tongue. He wants more. It shows in the lyrics, but even beyond the bouncy crunch, the harmonies glosses over the fact that the music is just smoothed-out ritual. One has to give, and for these three songs, none of them do and that does little to convince you that he is giving it all for the cause of love.
“Anything You Never Heard” does a better job simply because it’s a great summer-like jam. The guitars crunch with fervor and you want this band to be that band that gets you. This is as close as it comes.
Three songs are not enough to develop a close relationship with Broadcaster. The Joyride EP does a better job and is a better all-around release for the band. You cannot go wrong with the rock and roll atmosphere of “Snow Party” and the college rock demeanor.
Tightrope Walker is a step down and does not capture the lively spirit that Joyride provides. Chalk it up to a smoothed-out production or trying to fall into a niche of modern rock where bands like Jimmy Eat World resides. Maybe it’s that strive for bigger hooks. Whatever it is, Tightrope Walker needs to be more pungent. Turn the volume up and cut to the quick. It’s where this band does its best work.