Broadcast

Tender Buttons (Warp)

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Between releasing their second LP, Haha Sound, and recording their third, Tender Buttons, the band Broadcast lost a few members and, it seems, gained a body. Although the new album is distinctively Broadcast-esque in its finessed sonic atmosphere and lullaby vocals, there's a kind of corporeality to the music now. One of the tracks is, in fact, called "Corporeal," and its dark, buzzing propulsiveness sums up everything that separates TB from any of its predecessors. In contrast to the evanescent soundscaping of previous records, TB is awash in sharp beats, meaty hooks and abrasive textures. Even Trish Keenan's singing has new force; only on the tracks "Goodbye Girls" and "You and Me Time" does she revert to her typical, ghostlike delivery. Elsewhere, especially on "America's Boy" and "Black Cat," she uses the creepy flatness of her voice and the songs' unintuitive melodies to strike a tone of stern insistence. The whole album feels like it was recorded in an asylum by the voices in some madwoman's head, the ones that warn of apocalypse. And so TB is brilliant--but it could also drive people crazy.

 
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