Broken DC is a rather mysterious UK psych band, and this is their debut release. The album is named after a work of fiction by Albertine Sarrazin and was produced by Dan Sullivan (Ulver, Sunn O)). It is a beautiful musical work on many levels. Offered up are shades of light and dark, broken up by gorgeous washes of violin and interspersed between occasional jarring discord. It is autumnal and deep, revealing itself more with repeated listens. The label’s Bandcamp page provides no credits, but I hit paydirt on Facebook.
The band hails from London, and label themselves ‘post rock’. I guess that is apt, as far as labels go. Their sound is expansive and cinematic, as evidenced by opening track, “White Sheet”. It is short and comprised of many layers, and things are happening in different musical spaces. It ends too abruptly and is caught up by “Chimes”, where guitarist Ivona Behalova emotes gently in the distance. The backing melody is a bit disquieting and ominous. It’s like a soundtrack to a movie where you know something bad is lurking around the next corner, and you know the music will escalate accordingly.
“Namer of Clouds” is my favorite track here, one that is evocative and beautiful. It is enhanced by what sounds like a plaintive violin, and builds tension nicely with billowing waves of guitar. “Phase In a Still River Flows” is akin to a long and winding road, one with stops and starts along the way, all serving to keep the listener riveted.
“Hollow Tree” is deceptively simple, starting out like something that fell off a Traffic album, with hints of an unknown stringed instrument keeping time with sparely plucked guitar. Then the band jacks up the volume, and it becomes something different altogether. Very cool! “Black Candles” filters through like an ancient Romani tune, and is a bit trippy by song’s end.
“Forever Blue” starts off with drones and a trumpet! It all works to the band’s advantage, and means the listener is always guessing. “Soon the Monsoon” is another fantastic song, my second favorite on an already great record. It’s a shoegazey instrumental, and one I keep returning to. Album closer “Always Is Now” explores the band’s spacier side and marries it some hard hitting, crashing rock chords. Much later in the song, there are vocals, and the song folds back in on itself and ends on a high note.
For fans of Slint, and for anyone who enjoys well written and played instrumental music.