Broadcast Pendulum EP

[Warp; 2003]

Styles: indie electronica, dream pop, space rock, neo-psych
Others: I, like so many others, originally came to Broadcast via their lil’ sister relationship with Stereolab. When I first heard them, my indie hipster cronies were offering positive yet somewhat tepid vi

Broadcast’s latest EP, Pendulum, is quite a radical departure from the soothing sounds of their early singles and their sole LP The Noise Made By the People. The Birmingham, England quintet had shown considerable talent for crafting the same sort of gorgeous, spacey melodies as their analog synthesizer wielding contemporaries Stereolab.

Pendulum shifts the band’s emphasis from those gorgeous melodies to the rhythmic capabilities of drummer Neil Bullock. The six songs on the EP find their foundation on Bullock’s sometimes inventive drum breaks. The band’s synthesizers are played in a similarly percussive manner.

The one factor that remains constant is Trish Keenan’s ethereal vocals. While Keenan’s subdued voice lent itself well to the softer textures of the band’s previous output, Keenan has enough vocal range to make it work on Pendulum, too.

The EP displays a certain level of grit that had been absent from the band’s work. While, The Noise Made By the People is a lovely record, it sometimes gets a little too pretty for its own good. Many bands are capable of making pretty music; it takes substance to get noticed among the crowd of generic Stereolab clones. Pendulum, and the LP which it precedes, HaHa Sound, show Broadcast finding an edge to cut their way through their contemporaries.

1. Pendulum
2. Small Song IV
3. One Hour Empire
4. Still Feels Like Tears
5. Violent Playground
6. Minus Two