BROADCAST – Tender Buttons (2005)

Review by: Jared Walske
Album assigned by: Eric Pember

I’m not familiar with all of Broadcast’s output – I really only know this album and their debut, The Noise Made by People – but I find it very easy to believe that this is their peak as a band. The same kind of icy and dreamy pop sound that was a dominated Noise is still here, but it’s been augmented by a sharper edge that gives their music a little more kick without overwhelming the softer aspects of their sound. A superb example of this can be seen in the opening track “I Found The F”. Musically, it’s not dissimilar to the kinds of songs Broadcast were already known for, but their earlier material would have used a less coarse-sounding synthesizer tone and would not have emphasized the drums and bass line as much. this becomes every more prominent on the following song, “Black Cat”, which is driven by abrasive bed of electronic noise underneath Trish Keenan’s vocal line. This blending of the pretty and the spiky runs throughout the album and while I could see someone getting tired of the sound by the end of the album, I don’t count myself among them. Listening to this album always makes me a little sad that Broadcast only made one album in this particular mode and makes Trish Keenan’s death in 2011 all the more tragic, as I think her singing and vocal melodies are what really help hold this album together. Give the album a listen and then tell your friends to listen to it too. You won’t be disappointed.

Highlights: “I Found The F”, “Black Cat”, and “Corporeal” stand out as obvious highlights for me, but I suspect that’s more personal preference than anything else.

Lowlights: None. Unless this style of dream pop doesn’t do anything for you, you’ll probably at least enjoy everything here.