The Broken West -- I Can't Go On, I'll Go On (Merge)

On their self-released 2006 EP, The Dutchman's Gold, The Broken West (then known as the Brokedown and changed because a lawyer told them so) exhibited an amazing amount of diversity and maturity

 
The Broken West — I Can't Go On, I'll Go On



On their self-released 2006 EP, The Dutchman's Gold, The Broken West (then known as the Brokedown and changed because a lawyer told them so) exhibited an amazing amount of diversity and maturity for a band that had only assembled the previous year. The L.A. quartet's debut full-length for big indie Merge, I Can't Go On, I'll Go On, displays a lot of the same muscular delicacy of their exceptional debut, even reprising one of the EP's best tracks, the Old 97s Americana scuzz/Fountains of Wayne Power Pop buzz of "Down in the Valley." The Broken West wraps their lyrical themes of isolation and disconnection in bouncy melodies that reverberate with Pop classicism and chime with Indie charm, like Spoon if they'd been raised on a steady diet of The Kinks. There's a Beatlesque vibe (heavy on the Harrison, please) on "Shiftee" as it builds from acoustic lilt to electric tilt and back again, while "On the Bubble" and "Slow" sport the frenetic Pop pace of The New Pornographers. "You Can Build an Island" has that cusp-of-the-'60s jangle that made Big Star one of the most enduring influences in Rock history and "Abigail" and "Baby on My Arm" have that dreamy Ryan Adams/Jeff Tweedy Psych Roots swirl that the kids all love. Sonically, The Broken West approaches a lot of their material with an interesting Pop subtlety that might not catch hold of the listener until the third or fourth or 12th listen. Patience is a virtue and The Broken West is the reward. (BB) Grade: B+

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