Absence can make the heart grow fonder, as they say. But ask any fan of Broken Records which they’d prefer, and the answer would likely be ‘more new music please, kind sirs’.
It’s been almost four years since the release of second album ‘Let Me Come Home’ (Clash review HERE) and in that time the band have been largely silent. Yet stillness can be deceiving, with Broken Records spending that time refining and defining who they are, and what they want to achieve.
“Well, I mean we’ve been sort of working on this record pretty much since the last one came out” singer Jamie Sutherland explains. “We finished touring that one in September 2011. After that we kind of took stock and that’s really when the writing period started again. I mean it’s been in the pipeline for some time now. Various other things have got in the way in between, life just caught up with us a little bit.”
With keyboard player Dave Smith now living in New York, communication has become a trans-Atlantic affair. Swapping ideas, Broken Records gradually brought their new vision into focus whilst preparations began for its release.
Previously making their nest at 4AD, a mutual separation has seen Broken Records kick off their own imprint. “It had been a really nice ride but we felt that we needed to work out how to best release records in the current climate” the singer continues. “It seems to be that the best way to do it is to try and be self-sustaining. I guess Rock Action and Mogwai is the perfect example of how to be successful doing that, and to be self-sustaining enough to be able to make all the major decisions ourselves”.
Using Pledge to gain the support of fans, Broken Records went into the studio last year. Recording at their own pace, the band were allowed to impact a certain mood, a certain atmosphere onto the material, as Sutherland explains. “We gave ourselves about six months to make this record in increments, and that way we’ve actually managed to get a far more nuanced, balanced record and one that I think is by far and away our best. There’s a lot more light and shade on it, I think it’s a lot more fun at times”.
Pushed for a few hints, the singer admits that the new material is slightly removed to their previous work. “It’s different to what we’ve done before” he says. “I mean, not a million miles removed but it’s sparser and generally across the board we’ve tried to get a bit more of a ‘feel’ to it to make it more nuanced and textured rather than just go gung-ho into it as we have sometimes done in the past”.
With their new album due for release this year, Broken Records are set to unveil their ‘Toska’ EP on March 24th. The title track is a beautifully restrained work, opening with lush strings and gentle ripples of piano before Jamie Sutherland’s voice powers the track forward.
“I think it’s really just about conversations you have with your girlfriend and people that are close to you,” the singer explains. “It’s always that thing of when you’re talking about difficult times in a relationship it’s never black and white, big dramas and break ups. There’s this more considered approach to how relationships actually work. That’s kind of what the song is about. It’s about being unhappy but not really understanding why it is that you’re unhappy”.
Listen to ‘Toska’ first on Clash.
Words: Robin Murray
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'Toska' is set to be released on March 24th.