This week’s top new releases could hardly contrast more sharply as the raw punk rock of Oregon crew Broadway Calls (pictured) goes up against the pretentious folk prog of 40-year-old Brits Strawbs.
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Broadway Calls – Good Views, Bad News (Side One Dummy Records)
If you thought Broadway Calls were simply riding on the back of the G-force (Green Day and The Gaslight Anthem) then think again. Sure they lean heavily towards the agit-punk sensibilities and slick melodies favoured by both acts and yet singer Ty Vaughn has managed to carve out a nice little niche all of his own with one of the best vocal performances you’ll hear all year.
The anthemic Midnight Hour is a cracking soundtrack to the summer while At The End hints at an even more exciting future for this forward-thinking three-piece. Both tracks echo the style of many bigger bands but Good Views, Bad News is no shoddy rip-off.
This record has quality written all over it and it’s little wonder Green Day’s Billy Joe Armstrong was so impressed he signed the band in the first place. Many more records like this and he’ll be starting to look nervously over his shoulder at the fired up new kids on the pop punk block.
rushonrock rated: 8/10 Good Views, Good News
Strawbs – Dancing To The Devil’s Beat (Witchwood Media)
This is, quite possibly, the worst record you will hear all year. Hyped up as a return to the band’s highly regarded progressive roots and released to tie in with Strawbs’ 40th anniversary, Dancing To The Devil’s Beat is a desperately poor effort from a previously respected band.
Kicking off in reasonably rocking fashion the first problem is Dave Cousins’ agonisingly jarring vocal style. It’s a case of love him or hate him and here at rushonrock we can’t help but fall into the latter camp. We’re just waiting for the instrumental versions of Revenge (Can Be So Sweet) and Beneath The Angry Sky before we revisit two tracks utterly ruined by a woeful whine.
And it doesn’t get much better. The ambitious yet atrocious Pro Patria Suite is a slur on fellow proggers the world over and as song titles go The Man Who Would Never Leave Grimsby is a shocker. Just wait until you hear the lyrics – it’s Strawbs’ Steel Panther moment and a tribute to The Folksmen all rolled into one. But it’s not meant to be ironic.
Throw in a ridiculous album sleeve and an unusually poor production job from rushonrock fave Chris Tsangarides and it’s a miracle this album ever saw the light of day.
rushonrock rated: 2/10 The Devil’s Music