Broken 3 Ways
Work On It
Work On It is available from:
The album Return to the Shack is released on 28th July
Having witnessed so many Indie and Rock bands come through, my thoughts turn to this brilliant seven-piece Punk-Ska band. Broken 3 Ways provide delirious and upbeat energy; angered and angular discontent, buoyant and impassioned vocals. Work On It is a stunning song from one of this country’s finest live acts- make sure you check out these Wirral-based wonders.
IT is not often that I get to step away…
from my normal course of investigations. Over the coming days, I will be assessing a couple of different albums: Indie and Rock are going to come under the radar. It is always great to delve into a band (or artist) with a terrific sound: discover something exciting and genuinely unexpected. As great as it is to hear these acts, a part of my mind always looks outwards: yearning to find sounds that are that little free-thinking. Rock, Indie and Grunge are genres that have many representatives: there are plenty of acts that give different takes on these particular forms. Aside from that, you get a fair smattering of terrific musicians- everything from Pop and Soul can be reinterpreted and redefined in bold and unexpected ways. I am excited today, because I get to look at two different topics: northern music and Ska. When looking at the north, most of my attention is primed at Yorkshire: the county has taken up quite a lot of my time and passion across the years. It seems to be the region to discover what is genuinely hot and upcoming: the multitude and range of different sounds far surpasses that (provided) by other areas of the U.K. I will not go into too much detail with regards Yorkshire- having laboured the point so many times- but something wonderful is happening if you head further up the country: the musicians here are creating something quite special indeed. It was only a few days ago I was lamenting the lack of great Liverpudlian and Mancunian artists- Liverpool and Manchester have such a historic reputation; the apparent energy and tremendous output seen in the ’80s and ’90s has subsided somewhat- there are still some terrific bands here; far fewer than I would predict. The problem is the nature of the genres pervaded: artists still lean too heavily towards the avenues of Rock, Indie (and its sub-genres)- the diversity and experimentation is lacking. With Yorkshire boasting authoritative Swing and Electro. acts; an incredible ’50s-inspired chic songstress; solid and reputable Pop-Soul artists- you wonder why one county is leading such an emphatic charge. Across the North West of England, there is a revival happening: fascinating and original artists are poking through; presenting music that separates itself from the predictable mass- offering the listener new and scintillating experiences. My featured act hail from the Wirral: an area of the U.K. that is showcasing some of the nation’s hungriest and most eager new musicians. Although not on the same rarefied level as Yorkshire, the Liverpool district is proving how adept and malleable the music scene is. One of the big problems with the mainstream is that the albums and songs put forth do not possess that much true diversity: certain albums will splice and mix genres; there are still a lot of forms of music that are relegated to niche and clandestine quarters. Popular demand and market forces have perhaps moulded a rigid and ill-defined core: something needs to be done to ensure that unexpected and flavoursome sounds are stirred into the mix. In order for this to happen, eyes must look towards new music- beholding and proffering the bravest and most compelling acts around. Before I expand on this point, I shall introduce my featured act:
“Broken 3 Ways, a 7-piece ska-punk outfit from the Wirral, UK are living proof that raw talent, ambition and honesty can still prevail in an ailing music industry. It is no surprise that their energetic live performance has helped grow a loyal fan base throughout the Wirral and Liverpool music scene. Their signature sound in captures the raw essence of Ska-Punk with hard-hitting dual vocals, Skanking guitars and addictive brass that take their influence from bands such as Streetlight manifesto, Sublime, Rancid, Reel big fish and Capdown. Since 2008 the band have played hundreds of shows, supporting bands such as The English Beat and The Skints. In the summer of 2013 they enjoyed performing at a string of festivals across the North West including Zanzifest, Fort Perch Rocks and headline slots at The Gathering, Port Life and Summer Jam festivals. Their debut self funded album ‘Return to the Shack’ is due to be released summer 2014.”
Jay Peers Bow– (Vox & Sax)
Scott Hyland– (Vox & Guitar)
Jay Aldred– (Trumpet)
Chris Gartman– (Guitar)
Shaun Price– (Keys)
Ben Green– (Drums)
Broken 3 Ways are a group that I have only know of for a few days, yet am excited to follow their careers- see just how far they can go. The fact that the group has received such incredible feedback- reviewers and commentators see them as an institution as opposed to a band- is due to the music they play: you are going to struggle to list a whole lot of other acts that sound similar to them. Ska and Punk are genres not often bonded and fused: having quite a few similarities you wonder why new musicians are not joining these genres together in matrimony. Both are based around energy and passion; the blending of elliptical and danceable Ska- tied to harder and rawer Punk- creates quite a sensation. Broken 3 Ways have cleverly discovered a rare form of music: their songs are among some of the most exciting and invigorating you will hear in all of music. Reviewers and publications have been keen to point out just how terrific (the band is) in the live arena: their performances are legendary and unforgettable; that insatiable seven-piece fill venues with merriment, swing and joy- there is no negative motive or chance occurrences. Bands that usually provide fun and fascination do so because of the quality of their performances- rarely does the music itself appeal to such a deep-down and primal core. With new music housing so many heavier and Indie-based acts- where the music can be introverted and overly emotional- Broken 3 Ways present something more extrovert, all-inclusive and delirious- one taste of their insane sway and you are hooked for life. With their new album on the horizon- I shall touch on this in my conclusion- their future is going to be very busy and packed: the L.P. is destined to see many new fans convert themselves to the Wirral-based clan- and experience the wonder. Before I get down to investigating the band (in closer detail), I will make one more point: that which concerns Ska itself. Here is a genre that few of us are overly familiar with. My main exposure to this type of music is through the likes of Madness and The Specials- quite mainstream and predictable but still geniuses of the form. Whilst Suggs’ crew have an air of Cockney happy-chappy cheekiness about them, it is perhaps The Specials that stick out in my mind- their fusing of darker and sharper edges beautifully contrasts their upbeat and mesmeric swirls of majesty. Broken 3 Ways have a lot in common with the Coventry clan: that comparable sense of adventurousness and lust shines through in their music. Too many people focus too narrowly: so much treasure and marvel can be found if you expand your mind and take risks- with regards your listening experience. As the Wirral band are proving; if you offer the public something genuinely distinct- with familiar and classic edges- you garner a huge reaction: their reputation and legacy is expanding and developing by the week.
It is at this stage of a review that I look back an artist’s past: examine their past sounds; the songs that got them to where they are- trying to explain how their sound has changed and grown. The band have been going for over five years now: Return to the Shack is their most fully realised and full-bodied work- the first comprehensive representation of the pioneering group. The most prominent exposure the band has had is in the live arena- it is where they cut their chops and got critical tongues wagging. Honing and premiering their music, most of their movements have been made away from the studio- making it difficult to see just what a leap they have made. That said, I have been searching YouTube and the Internet for Broken 3 Ways live cuts. The raw and urgent energy that defines their live performances is certainly something to witness- of course you can never realise the full effect through a laptop. Having played hundreds of shows- and rotated their band line-up- the seven-piece have spent a lot of time perfecting their sound- in addition to settling and cementing their ranks. This year is the most important one for them as it sees the release of their debut album- the first chance to see how the songs transition from the stage to the studio. Being a self-funded album, the boys have also had a lot of creative input (into the album’s production). Because of this, there is not a huge difference to be found- in a great way. A lot of albums would see once great songs somewhat distorted- the energy and captivation of the live performance is nurtured and diminished. Back in 2009, the band did unveil a demo E.P.- the nine tracks on there give a good impression of their embryonic thoughts and feelings. Tracks like Brass Knuckles, Wasted and I Ain’t No Racist crackle with the same energy and rawness that defines their current sounds. Whilst not a full album, it gives an insight into an eager young band. The quality of their early music is surprisingly high and rich. My personal favourite tracks- Woody and I Said Now What– capture my mind with their incredible compositions and memorability. The production values are high; I would say they have grown since 2009. The confidence of the performances has increased; the band draw in more depth and colour into their music- that vital urgency (and trademark sound is there) but they have a huge confidence and sense of ambition. The songwriting has become sharper and more intuitive; the vocal turns are more striking and compelling- the countless tour dates over the past five years have seen the band hone their skills. Whilst anger runs through most of their work, Broken 3 Ways have drawn in more emotional depth- their new material is testament to a group that never stop aiming high and wide. When listening to Return to the Shack’s numbers, you imagine you are in a venue- at one of the band’s shows, it as thought you are hearing the songs from the front row. The dual vocals and ferocious intention goes a long way to making this happen- backed by stunningly evocative compositions, the album is a raw and primal animal. For anyone that may be turning their head- thinking the band are just hot, heavy and brutal- then think again. Influences such as The Specials and Streetlight Manifesto come through across the album- that blend of passion, intrigue and emotional undertone bubbles through. What impresses me most about Broken 3 Ways is their range and motility: their songs do not stick to one pace or theme; there is surprise and movement to be found. Work On It is a perfect representation of all of this: the colours and flavours that make the band such a special prospect are wonderfully mixed in the track- I shall examine the song in more depth in due time. Few modern bands are such a special live prospect- maybe few would expect a studio-recorded album to match the heady heights. There is no overproduction or muted sound: the group keep everything honest and in tact- you would not notice a huge different between the two disparate settings. What the album does show, is of a band with a lot to say: possessed of an original and potent voice, Return to the Shack is an impassioned record that has no weaknesses or slip-ups- everything contained within knocks you off of your feet. I would advise anyone- that is new to the band- to go and see them live; maybe seek out a video or two of theirs- just to see how they make their name. It must be quite a phenomenal experience- seeing them in the flesh- and is something I shall endeavour to do in the coming years. Only having their studio sounds in mind, the best thing I can do is to give a fair assessment of how strong their music is- here and now in 2014. It is clear that the developments- band members changing; multiple gigs- have inspired terrific music; solidified their magic and menace- their debut is a sure-fire hit and stunning record. Not too bloated or vague, there is a sense of clarity and concision throughout. Nobody sounds like them- they do not sound like anyone- making them a unique bird: an act that does not leave you scrambling towards other artists. Of course there are notes of other acts- I examine this below- but the abiding sensation is of a hungry group that are doing things on their own terms- shouting their voice to the world and wanting to make as many friends as possible. That sense of inclusion and community is the strongest bond in their music: they do not make music just for them; they want the listener to connect and feel involved- you get a clear sense of this dynamic when listening to their songs. If you want these kind of qualities in music- we all do to be fair- then you cannot go far wrong with Broken 3 Ways are the guys for you.
If you are seeking any similar-sounding artists- those that inspire the band- there are a few names that can be mentioned. Streetlight Manifesto are perhaps the most clear-cut influence for Broken 3 Ways. The New Jersey Ska-Punk band employ embers of ’50s and ’60s music into their agenda: incorporating eastern European aspect into their later work and keeping their music distinct and changeable. At their core is that energetic rush and primal feel- complete with diverse and atmospheric horns their albums are awash with nuance and depth. Broken 3 Ways have elements of Everything Goes Numb (Streetlight Manifesto’s debut album) in their latest offerings. That hardcore spirit and sense of occasion comes through in their work; the incredible lyrics which look at hardcore themes and personal insight. Broken 3 Ways mix acceleration with deceleration; they keep the tempo malleable and flexible; their compositions bond darker shades with upbeat life: these qualities come through in Everything Goes Numb. Whereas the U.S. giants tend to fill a lot of their albums with scenes of despair, personal pain and against-the-odds violence; our seven-piece tend to offer up more positivity and openness- they draw the listener in a bit more and do not come off as aggrieved or discriminated against. The Hands That Thieve (Streetlight Manifesto’s latest album) is a more mature and fun endeavour: the songs mingle Third-Wave Ska ebullience with party times and depth. Most Ska bands can present something shallow and single-minded: songs for partying and getting your feet moving; that which contains little depth or range. That album possesses plenty of grown-up and intelligent undercurrents; emotion and resonating depth shows its hand- the L.P. is a fully rounded and compelling release. Broken 3 Ways have a similar multifareousness in their armoury: able to liven up dance-floors and let their majestic horn work invigorate; their music goes that bit deeper- songs and moments can soundtrack more introverted and solemn moments. It is a rare feat to be able to do this- when working in the genre- our boys have taken inspiration and guidance from the New Brunswick frontrunners. Sublime and Rancid are idols of the band. Sublime hail from California and mix Reggae-Rock alongside Ska-Punk- the group were renowned for their fusion of genres and sounds. Following on from the death of their lead (Brad Nowell), the band’s self-titled album was a tad overrated and under-stocked. A glimmer of their former selves, it did at least provide sights of what made them so special. Insatiable and gravitating hooks parabond with sexy Reggae numbers- the album is not a disappointment by any means. Broken 3 Ways provide some California sun-cum-Reggae sway: able to inject unforgettable hooks into their jams, the band instill some of the essence of the bygone legends. The suppleness and tautness that ran through Sublime appears on Work On It– the track does not rest or sound contented to do the bare minimum. Fellow Californians Rancid are a harder and more carnivorous act: their music takes in Street Punk, Hardcore and Ska-Punk. The band provide old-school Punk sounds with essences of The Clash: tied around a primal and urgent centre, they are one of the most inspirational bands of the genre. Broken 3 Ways have a unique and original voice, but have some shades of Rancid. Both bands provide fiery intensity and passionate speed; powerful hooks and repeatable songs. Whereas Rancid were hampered by some pseudo-intellectual moments- especially on their album Life Won’t Wait– Broken 3 Ways do not suffer this ignominy: their music is consistently vital and focused. Californian sounds feature highly on the band’s periscope: Reel Big Fish are another source of inspiration for the seven-piece. Like their contemporaries and Ska neighbours, Reel Big Fish have a beating Punk-Ska heart; instilling Alternative-Rock tones into their agenda, their music has inspired and compelled many modern Punk and Hard-Rock bands. Reel Big Fish have a sense of humour and ear for cross-hybridization that made albums like Why Do They Rock So Hard? so important. That album mixed Reggae sounds with Rock- it translated surprisingly well in Jamaica. The cheekiness and humour that synonimised the band can be found in the songs of Broken 3 Ways. Their album will showcase some tongue-in-cheek and impish mandates; it has slick and assured Ska-Punk rushes; incredible horn blasts and rushing compositions; a carnival of fun and deliriousness- the very qualities that cemented the reputation of Reel Big Fish. Capdown are one of the few English references for Broken 3 Ways. Formed in 1997- and still performing today- the band made their name with their independent releases and politicised songs. Broken 3 Ways are releasing Return to the Shack off of their own back: with no record label, the boys possess the same independent and bold spirit as Capdown. Their sophomore album- Pound for the Sound– saw positive themes and redemptive messages come through: ideals that rallied against racism and persecution made the album such an essential disc. A lot of Ska bands tend to train their thoughts to subjugated and repressed avenues- few incorporate necessary happiness and positivity. Whilst Broken 3 Ways do look at harsher and harder themes, their music is imbued with spirited and affirmative heart- there is plenty to enjoy and recommend. The final two influences- or bands- I shall mention are Madness and The Specials. Less Punk-infused and more traditional, there are threads you can take from both acts. Madness’ New Wave and Ska energy made them the legends they are. Whilst not as wacky and far-out as Madness, Broken 3 Ways have a similar sense of story and adventure. Both acts fill their songs with interesting characters, charming scenes and oddities- dimming the mood when required. From One Step Beyond…, Madness showed how versatile and mobile they were: combining various genres and music forms, the relentless sense of cheer and energy never drops. Broken 3 Ways appropriate a modicum of Madness’ wildness and alacrity- those distinct and regal horn climbs can be detected in both acts. Less The Nutty Boys; more The Headbutty Boys, Broken 3 Ways have retained the core and honest Ska sound Madness popularised, and added to it. The Specials were renowned for their angriness and essential lyrics: their songs looked at the realities of the streets and modern life. Father figures to the likes of Sublime, The Specials is a masterpiece of dissatisfaction. Whereas the album looked at the likes of teen pregnancy and the local streets, Broken 3 Ways take their creative mind elsewhere: their songs are instilled with some comparable urgency and striking vocals. The sharp and quote-worthy lyrics that ran rampage through the album have inspired the likes of Broken 3 Ways. Our boys have an ear for a terrific line; able to distill the essence of social impotency; strange scenes and characters; weird and disconcerting themes into coherent and compelling songs. Fun and frivolousness can be detected in the work of The Specials- they did not just go with bad mood music- and this range and fullness has inspired many current band such as Broken 3 Ways.
Work On It has already been receiving some infused praise- a promising litmus test ahead of their album release. Noted for its gladiatorial and grand sound, it is a song that you cannot ignore- and will not forget. Beginning with some flowing and teasing guitar strings, the song beckons the listener in- a gentle and seductive start, that parable is soon joined by parping brass. The vocal delivery is quick-fire and impassioned: our hero lets his words tumble and strike as they do. The early stages of the song introduce the song’s title- employing it as a mantra, it is chanting in full voice; that energy and pride is put into the mix straight away. Perhaps speaking from personal experience- or casting himself in the guise of an anonymous hero- our singer has intent in his voice. It is hard to learn new things; wondering how he is going to learn (if he’s not been shown), I got the impression of a voice rallying against the tedium and pointlessness of office life- that purposeless skill-set that many modern employees need. Perhaps the anger is less directed towards the type of job and more towards particular employees. Our hero knows it is hard “being left alone“- fending for yourself and employing initiative can be quite strenuous and counter-intuitive. With his voice incorporating some of Joe Strummer’s legendary punch, the strength and urgency of the delivery cannot be faulted- it is a raw and meaningful coda. Backed on vocals intermittently, the track acts as a clarion call; a warning shot against the ship, Broken 3 Ways are the army fighting against the ineptness of modern-day workers. The song advises that it is no good to just sit there and do nothing: proclaiming (that these types of people) need to “step on it“; if they let their focus and drive subside then the money will all be gone- and they will be done. Our hero is rebelling against the trend of moaning and capitulating: he will make it through the days and get to the very end. Whereas colleagues and contemporaries are exploding and breaking down, here we see a man who needs to make money- his boss is not causing him to fret; stating that he just needs to work on things. Exploring an original and ever-relevant subject, the song marks itself out from the scores of others out there- few acts take their minds away from love and break-ups to explore something so meaningful and universal. The way the words are projected catches your ear and infuses the song with a constant drive: the hero belts and proclaims his words- with no vitriol or blood-curdling roar, his voice has a distinct and vintage Punk sound. Able to fit into the back catalogue of The Clash, The Specials and Capdown, it is a uniquely English voice that comes through: that everyman soul in the vocal makes the song resonate and hit hard. The rest of the band is up to the task in hand. In addition to setting the scene, a hell of a lot of atmosphere and music is whipped up. Between lines, brass is scatter-shot and frantic- it retreats and then goes back for one more go- the percussion rifles and punches in the background. Versatility and cross-pollination is something Broken 3 Ways are noted for. In Work On It, they inject Reggae touches: towards the 0:55 marker, there is a relaxed and island-sounding sigh. The energy and passion in the vocal not only calls to mind Punk and Ska, but of modern-day Indie and Rock. If you are a fan of the heroes of the genres, then you will find some treats here: Peers Bow and Hyland have unique tones but are equally as impressive as the most impassioned singers on the scene. The song’s developing story and itinerant drive keeps the listener compelled and hooked: you are rooting for our man but your thoughts divide themselves. If you look at the video for the track- go to YouTube and seek it out- it depicts clips of office workers melting down: destroying company property, it is the clip show of the pissed-off drone- rallying against the stress and strains of office life. When I hear the song, I imagine our hero doing his work: getting on with his chores, you sense various bodies succumbing to the pressure of the environment- crumbling under the weight of expectation. If others are finding this setting too hostile and unforgiving, it is not the case for our hero: the pithy three-word performance review is inspiring him to get the hang on things. Backed by a propulsive and considerate composition- it is not too heavy, instead providing tender notes and building emotion- our hero is feeling a little fed up. In spite of mastering his duties, the same problems keep occurring- the “same old strife” is haunting his mind. Not only giving the song a new perspective- you feel that he is the embodiment of one of the video’s crazed and delirious workers- that tension starts to build. The job is being done by a loyal and eager employee; throwing back nothing but kicks in the teeth, life is not fair at all. That indelible and gorgeous compositional rise- where the horns and brass rise and blast with ceremony; the percussion pummels- perfectly punctuates the tension and building anger. In spite of all the horrors unfolding, our hero is remaining firm and strong: get through the day and do what you can. This philosophy seems almost harsh as the song progresses: with his boss advising his employee to step it up, you sense a man under the lash and yolk of a tormenting hell- he does not want to me there but can’t afford not to. Before the 2:00 mark, there is a chance for interval and pause. The composition takes charge and provides another fascinating layer of sound. The brass comes up first: Jazz-infused and free-form, it spirals and twirls- the coda snakes and twists; shifting directions (and putting you in mind of Charles Mingus). Whilst not breaking into full-on eccentricity, the passion and fervour that is summoned is a wonderful touch- leading to a fantastic guitar solo. Both psychedelic and tranquil, it matches powerful grit with soothing calm- mixing Hard-Rock fret work with Jazz-Rock experimentation. Before long, the vocal is back in the fold: the chorus swings back in and that mocking message makes its mark. Our hero is quite coy in his delivery: whether vengeful of his inept boss (or keen to keep his discipline strong), you start to wonder- I suspect that a sarcastic edge is enforcing his words and delivery style. I mentioned Steely Dan in my last review- can’t remember the context- and the U.S. Jazz-Rock gods come back to mind. When the trumpet is back in the spotlight, the sound and sensation you get from it puts me in mind of Aja/Gaucho-era Steely Dan. Perhaps not a name on the boys’ radar, it is an impressive feat. Having already expertly blended Reggae and Ska alongside Punk, it is great to hear the sound of ’70s-’80s U.S. Jazz-Rock- the song keeps building and getting more assured as the time progresses. Joined by romantic and lustful sax; stirring and intent guitar work; solid and pounding drums- the compositions flourishes and spreads its plumage. Colours, smells and sights are unfurled as the boys combine in harmony: part-jam; part-studied detail, the mix of youthful energy and maturity creates an incredible sound. Rousing and uplifting, they ensure the listener is treated to an honest display of the band’s full talents- the parable is not merely a stop-gap; it adds enormous weight and fascination to the song. Ceremonial and arms-in-the-air joy infuses with a sharp and Blues-inspired guitar sound- the crispness of the Blues notes work well with the glowing throng of brass, guitar and percussion. With the bass holding the two sounds together- and keeping the song moving forward- we reach the final moments. Enraptured in the wonderful musical rampage, it acts as a fitting conclusion and wonderful outro.- you sense the song’s hero has gone to the dark side; destroying his laptop with venom, maybe his boss’s possessions are his next target. As the final notes ache and shrink, it is impossible not to elicit a cheeky grin- the song’s energy, words and high-points spiral your mind with centrifugal momentum.
It is rare to come across a song as loveable, instantaneous and unusual as Work On It. In the modern market, there is still a dominance of love ballads and romance-themed tracks. When a musician does come along (and differs in that respect) the effect is quite strange: they seem almost unnatural and rebellious. Perhaps I over-exaggerate, but you cannot deny the prevalence of the tender song: that which is designed to exorcise demons and connect with the listener. I think those songs have a rightful and much-needed place- I love hearing music that breaks away from this. Taking us inside of the office place- studying miscreants bosses and bad-tempered working conditions- you get a vivid sense of reality and relevance in the song. I have heard few tracks that cover the same issue- Broken 3 Ways distinguish themselves in so many different ways. The lyrics are sharp and witty; there is anger and de-motivation; febrile aloofness and the assessment of the mundane- so much ground is covered in the track. Return to the Shack contains similarly adventurous numbers: that same individuality and diversity makes its presence known. Before I mention the band members, it is worth assessing the song as a whole. It is a track that compels and fascinates from the very first notes. There is such a depth to the composition; meaning the energy never relents- it is a wave of song that you are helpless to swim against. With a superb composition that lets the guys get on with things, there is a great live feel- if you strain your ears you would imagine you are face-to-face with the chaps. The sheer catchiness of the song cannot be overlooked- the chorus’ addictive chant is one you will be parroting and projecting for days to come. A triumphant and incredible track that is perfect to lift the mood: it has a depth and maturity that few Punk-Ska tracks possess; clearly a lot of work has gone into the track. I should mention the band themselves. Peers Bow and Scott Hyland inject a huge amount of force and passion into the agenda. The lead vocal has touches of Joe Strummer and Tim Strickland: our hero incorporates his distinct accent into things; that mingling of uniqueness and vintage gives the performance an extra layer of conviction. Hyland’s salt of the earth personality gives Work On It a charm and weight that few other singers are capable on: every word sounds essential and inordinately pressing. Aldred and Hyland contribute trumpet and saxophone. The trumpet adds shiver and stirring rush during the song- some of the most intergalactic and spellbinding moments emanate from that instrument. An assured, fascinating and impassioned performance- it is a facet that makes Return to the Shack such an entrancing album. With Gartman joining Hyland in guitar duties, a Punk/Rock kick is mixed into proceedings: the guitar lines are slithering, striking and packed with plenty of clout and spit. Bass drive and direction is provided by Fal; Price on keys: instrumental composites that provide concision, beauty, dance and emphasis- not relegated to second-fiddle duties, they are essential ingredients in the mouth-watering dish. Green’s drumming is hard and memorable throughout. Flair and swagger; smash-and-grab gives Work On It the audible punch promised in the lyrics- matching the vocals perfectly, the combination is potent and domineering. Overall the band work wonderfully together. The close friendship and brotherly spirit gives the song such an assured and unmistakable naturalness: you can tell how long they have been playing together; the track does not sound too over-rehearsed or tampered with. The tight and stunning performances from each member get inside of your head: the entire song swirls and spikes your brain for a long, long time. Few other songs- I have heard this year- echo and rebound my mind with such a startling attack. Instant and driving; urgent and vivid, it is a song that mixes classic Punk and Ska (both U.S. and U.K.-based) together with a very modern sound- scoring a subject that is relevant and extrapolatable in any decade. Before I move on, I want to mention the genres of Ska and Punk. In the past they have pervaded and represented by a number of different acts- The Clash, The Specials etc.- but few modern acts keep this flame alive. Broken 3 Ways are capable of inspiring other acts to take up the type of music: with songs as strong as this I am tempted to give it a go! If you like Work On It, then you will love their album; if you prefer something a bit different then do not dismay- so many different shades and directions can be found throughout the L.P.
I have reviewed a lot of different musicians (the past few weeks). Plenty of stunning artists have made some very big impressions: from the recent stagger of The Moth Lantern’s beautiful Light Waves, my mind has been kept alert, alive and fascinated. Broken 3 Ways unveil Return to the Shack (on 28th July). Being a self-funded album, the seven-piece have worked long and hard to get the record made: that sense of pride and determination comes through across all the tracks. I have listened to the album and am stunned by the amount of depth, range and adventuorusness present: chocked full of life, compunctive swagger and endless brilliance, it is a perfect fusion of Ska and Punk- a collection that strikes your head, heart and soul. Not only does their music excite and tantalise the blood; it makes you want to move and dance- by the end of the album, you will be left wanting a lot more. For that reason, it is perhaps not a surprise that Work On It has had such a profound effect (on me). I adore music that mixes brass and strings; where the vocals are urgent and utterly arresting; sounds that are rich and steeped in colour and life- essentially music that does exactly what music should do. The boys have created a group that are sure to be big business in future years: the initial feedback and praise contains no hyperbole or exaggeration- everybody needs Broken 3 Ways in their lives. With the summer days promising stifling heat and wall-to-wall sunshine, their music is perfect for the season- it implores you to move and lose yourself inside of the music; become immersed in the myriad perfections of their tantalising seductions. Make sure you snap up their album, as it is one of the most exhilarating and urgent releases that 2014 will see. There is still too much hesitation and risklessness in modern music: a rigid formation of guitar, vocal, bass and drums composes most of today’s music- if you broaden your sonic palette, so much more depth and brilliance can be elicited. Broken 3 Ways will not be a secret for too much longer: with a stellar reputation in the North West, their inspiration and momentum is sure to seep further south. The likes of London are crying out for more acts that provide something genuinely unique. Music will only thrive and diversify if the artists take a stand: unexpected and mesmerising sounds inspire like-minded action; that in turn leads to bolder sounds; that leads to a less homogenised and stale scene- meaning future generations are in safer hands. If you are a fan of ‘traditional’ Ska outfits like Madness and The Specials, then Broken 3 Ways provide some relevant detail- they go beyond that and add a Punk energy and rush to the genre. Instilled with fun, emotion and exciting lyrics- topped off with incredible vocals- their sound is a festival of effusiveness and abandon. Before I wrap up, I will dovetail my original thesis: the issues of northern music and Ska. The North of England is showcasing the most impressive and ambitious musicians in the U.K.: artists that do things a little bit differently but keep the quality at the very highest end of the scale. I will always have time for Indie and Grunge: these genres are producing some of this country’s best and brightest bands. It is great that this is happening, but I suspect that a day may arrive when the market is suffocated by these types of artists: a battle royal will ensue and blood will be shed. There is not going to be enough room and space for all of these bands to gain acclaim and attention- only the fittest and most agile will prevail. If you want to progress and develop in music; ensure that your career lasts and blossoms, then you need to provide the public with something new- present sounds that do not tread the same ground as so many others. Broken 3 Ways will have an exciting future ahead of them. Work On It is a brash and phenomenal statement from a seven-piece that want to seduce as many listeners as possible- with the release of their album, they will see their followers rise and swell. As much as anything, I have been opened up to a band that I had not heard of; witnessed music that differs from my normal rotation- something striking and unexpectedly brilliant. I will be sure to keep Return to the Shack in my mind: keep the tracks spinning and get to grips with the full extent of its potential. Great music is defined by its power to inspire the mind of the listener: not only get their creative side working, but investigate similar-sounding bands (in a particular genre). I have been digging up my old Ska and Punk albums; gone online to check out (some of Broken 3 Way’s) influences and inspirations- getting a fuller impression of the type of music that compels them. This summer is going to see plenty of heat and sun; enough rain and unpredictable meteorological days- our intrepid seven-piece offer a soundtrack that is perfect for every climate and mood. With their legendary reputation for exciting live performances, the band are going to be promoting their single- and album- over the coming weeks. It will give the public a chance to witness the Wirral boys in their natural setting: inflaming and igniting multiple venues around the country. I have made a note to come and see the guys do their thing; experience their music up close and personal…
THAT is going to be worth seeing for sure.
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