Broadside – ‘Old Bones’

By Lucinda Livingstone

Many have claimed pop-punk as a genre had died over the years, but there sure is an abundance of it in 2015. With a yearly resurgence of similar-sounding bands each hating on their home town, drinking their weight in coffee, and proclaiming their undying love for their friends; it’s hard to pick out the good from the bad at the best of times.

Broadside are Victory Records answer to 2015 pop-punk. The unconventional signing from the label were warmly welcomed to the roster in 2014. This year they bring us their first Victory release: ‘Old Bones’. Taking a more mature approach to pop-punk, Broadside ride the wave between State Champs and All Time Low, with Ollie Baxter’s lyrics honest and intelligent. Fast forward to every chorus and you will find increasing catchy and melodic pop hooks.

‘A Place to Lay Your Head’ is the sound of a band that are confident with their craft and have been doing this a while. Having the backing of Victory has only done good things for the Virginia quintet; the production on ‘Old Bones’ is great to begin with. Aside from the occasional sporadic electronic drum break (‘A Better Way’) and unnecessary key change (‘Coffee Talk’) the songs are upbeat and infectiously snappy. Baxter’s sense of melody really makes this record. Tracks ‘Storyteller’ and ‘Playing in Traffic’ show off his vast vocal range, something we don’t always see a lot of from pop-punk bands these days.

After forgiving the cringeworthy Joy Division reference in ‘Damaged Kids’ the second half of the album brings more of the same, but the band have stepped into the pop-rock world. ‘Damaged Kids’ is a little over run with synths, and the record is losing it’s edge. Broadside seem to be becoming more and more like pop-punk’s answer to Pierce the Veil. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but after a promising first half of the album it’s a shame to see Broadside’s authentic 5 piece sound transform into over-the-top super shiny pop-rock. ‘A Light in the Dark’ is spoiled by this, and even the title track ‘Old Bones’ isn’t as anthemic after the brief spell of over production.

‘Old Bones’ touches base lyrically with a whole host of relatable subjects and reflects on them with maturity. It may be a little too much at times, but stripped to it’s bare bones it’s a solid pop-punk record with a jam packed rhythm section and killer vocals. Broadside are in no way substitutes for recent pop-punk departures A Loss For Words or Fireworks, but they will certainly hold their own with this record.

LUCINDA LIVINGSTONE

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