Broadway Calls - Good Views, Bad News
So, here we are then, another skate punk band hewn from the same rock as Green Day arrive with a new album. Oh, dear reader, please take a seat as I can see the blood draining from your face. Here, sniff this bottle of smelling salts and try to refrain from closing this page. Come on, did Beavis and Butthead die in vain?
There is little point in pulling any wool over your eyes, there is undoubtedly a great deal of commonality between Billy Joe and his young protégées but surely that is to be celebrated rather than sneered at? For a kick off Broadway Calls exhibit a relentless energy the like of which hasn’t been evident on a Green Day album for many a long year. You may well assume that one skate punk album is much like any other but you’ll struggle to find another which has the kind of dirty, crunching guitar not heard since the Manics disowned Guns n Roses and subscribed to the Factory mailing lists after Gold Against The Soul stiffed. The band owe a debt of gratitude for this to Black Flag legend Bill Stevenson whose production here is sublime.
Most important of all though, Broadway Calls display a heart-warming sense of camaraderie best exemplified by the epic scope of intelligent tracks such as Election Night. They may not be the last gang in town but they offer a genuine, spirited rallying call to which the “kids” will undoubtedly respond as, unlike Sum41 and their pitiful ilk, they are comfortable dealing in contemporary political issues like Obama’s election and military recruitment policy rather than the degrading mundanity of “boobies” and beer.
Potential to stimulate a bit of political discourse in the schoolyard is all very admirable but, as Billy Bragg will tell you, that is worthless without the tunes. Fear not on that score as Basement Royalty is one of the most powerful, fist-punching songs you’ll hear this decade. Just one listen and I guarantee you’ll be moved to buy a skateboard - even though you will have no idea what the hell they are singing about. The point being, these kids know how to press all the right buttons and it is such sophistication which will see these former schoolfriends from Oregon go global.
Brave words maybe, as you can never really tell for certain until you see a band in the flesh but, after their forthcoming festival appearances, I have a sneaking suspicion that their gig at the Southampton Joiners of all places will be somewhat oversubscribed and tickets will be changing hands for more than a fistful of dollars. Bottom line is that finally here is a band which offers not only bold, brash party music but also something for the kids to rally behind. The fact that the cause is indistinct is neither here nor there as that just means the club is open to all comers. Tonight is Alive, featuring a Reni like Resurrection drum pattern, delivers the most telling line of the album as vocalist Ty Vaughn bellows I’m singing for all of you. Personally, I predict a riot.