The Broken West

By - Jan 1st, 2007 02:52 pm
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By Heather Zydek

Prior to last fall, The Broken West were The Brokedown, until a Midwest punk band claimed they came up with the name first. After the name change, the quintet released one EP (The Dutchman’s Gold) until Merge recently snapped them up. The band’s own MySpace page describes its sound as “ghettotech/regional Mexican/rock” and cites influences like Unicorn, Spinal Tap and George Harrison. The sound on I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On, their debut full-length rlease, falls somewhere between the boozy frivolity of classic party rock and the artful pop of classic alt/college-rock.

The dozen songs on I Can’t Go On unroll at a medium pace, revealing songwriting that is melodic, if a bit clichéd. The songs are pretty enough not to offend the ear, but stubbornly refuse to stick in the mind the way really, really good songs (and really, really bad songs) do. The exception is “So It Goes,” a lovely, slightly melancholic pop-rock ditty reminiscent of something Teenage Fanclub might have written circa 1990 (see: “Star Sign” on Bandwagonesque).

Serious power-pop aficionados and fans of more upbeat classic rock will probably enjoy I Can’t Go On, as will those who prefer the tried and true over the gimmicky and novel. For the rest of us, The Broken West’s music is respectable but more or less forgettable. VS

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