Gentlemen's Brawl

Written by: TL on 03/09/2012 13:47:03

When Florida scenesters Broadway released their debut full length back in 2009, they showed promise by going against the grain and focusing more on melodies than on the glueing in of br00tal breakdowns that were all the rage among contemporary debutants like Asking Alexandria and Attack Attack. "Kingdoms" thus made somewhat of a mark on in the scene with memorable songs like "Same Thing We Do Every Day Pinky" and "Meg Ryan Would Play You In The Movie" and boosted by guest appearances from singers Craig Owens (Chiodos, D.R.U.G.S) and Jonny Craig (Dance Gavin Dance, Emarosa) you got the feeling that here was a band keeping at least half an eye on.

The follow-up to "Kingdoms" however, would prove more troublesome even than sophomores generally are by rule. After writing "Kingdoms", members of the band had gotten much more into pop-punk and consequently wanted to head more towards that style on the following album, as opposed to staying with the otherwise relatively trendy high-pitched scenester-core sound that made the band initially. With the change in sound however, the band never got the production right for the original release date back in March of 2011, and eventually fans had to wait all the way until June of this year to hear the new record, "Gentlemen's Brawl".

Moreover, the band would then have to wait a few months more to get reviewed on this site, for the simple reason that initial encounters with the record never made me very keen to spend more time with it. If it took this long to get the production to sound this 'good', I shudder when thinking about what it may have sounded like back in March 2011. Suffice to say that "Gentlemen's Brawl" sees Broadway's sound land somewhere in the middle between their original style and their new pop-punk ideal, and the result isn't overly enticing.

Frontman Misha Camacho's trademark, impossibly high voice is constantly coated in layers of annoying electronic effects, the melodramatic Chiodos-ish chimes and bells sit uncomfortably in the background fitting the lighter song structures poorly and generally, the band sounds like everybody is playing through a synthesizer, on undersized speakers in and oversized echo-y aircraft hangar. Okay so maybe that's overstating it a bit, but the sound on here really is, in a word, grating.

To their credit, Broadway have approached the songwriting with all the necessary positivity and light-heartedness needed to pen some good pop-punk tunes, and coupled with their knack for melodies they accomplish at least a few tracks that are rather catchy if you can stand the production - Here I'm mainly talking about "Party At Sean's House" and "I Am Not A Rockstar", which are the sort of tunes you hear and reluctantly sing along to, even while you're simultaneously shaking your head at their sound.

When taking a bird's eye view of the album however, "Gentlemen's Brawl" appears to me a rather unfortunate misstep by Broadway to put it mildly. I admire their desire to expand their repertoire to cover new styles, but it simply has not resulted in a very consistent end result. No amounts of positivity and catchy chorus writing would be able to overcome the shortcomings of this record overall sound I think. So when we factor in that outside of the mentioned standouts and maybe first single "Vagrant Stories", many of the other songs, especially later on the albums, does not seem to have a lot going for them in terms of welcoming the listener back on return listens, the conclusion seems that this is a record no signed band on with two albums to their name should be very proud to have released.


Download: Party At Sean's House, I Am Not A Rockstar, Vagrant Stories
For The Fans Of: Sleeping With Sirens, A Skylit Drive, Pierce The Veil, Sparks The Rescue

Release Date 19.06.2012
Uprising Records

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