Broken Banjo take the influences of rock and roll, metal, and rhythm and blues, combine them all in a big pot and craft their own unique sound out of it. The result, a sound that’s described as dirty, deafening, thrumming and screaming all at the same time – try working that one out in your head.
I’ve been lucky enough to come across Broken Banjo before and have heard their EP, Bootleg Porn Volume III a few times, each time remarking to anyone within ear shot that I’m not sure how, but they’ve pulled it off. Now though, the band are set with their latest 5 track offering, Bravo 106, and are setting out to once again show the world how to craft music that’s going to make you think and get you moving, whilst at the same time demonstrating that sometimes, a melting pot of influences can indeed lead to something unique, special, and most of all memorable.
Sure enough, as Toms Birthday Song kicks things into being, the blues orientated riffs take over and we’re led into a gravelly melee of sludgy guitars, hard hitting vocals, and funky assed rhythms – this is music for drinking beer and moving along to. Refusing to stick to conventional blues style rock, there’s hint after hint of the influences behind Broken Banjo, from the upbeat vocals through to the hard hitting musicianship, kicking the album off in style and demonstrating their dedication to crafting their unique sound. Refusing to stick to one approach, Raise Your Flag And Make Your Children Dumb marks a slight shift in things, moving more towards a conventional rock approach, almost harking towards grunge in some ways, whilst capturing the essence of the 90’s Brit-rock movement within the sound at the same time – it’s a catchy and clever mix that potentially, holds some serious single potential.
Returning to their sludgy and blues orientated roots for African Child, Broken Banjo take another turn on their route, this time offering up a White Stripes style melee of raucous vocal lines, subtle guitar work and hammering rhythms. It’s when Regretamine And The Horse comes about though that once again, those bluesy tones take over and we’re propelled back into the signature sound of the guys. Deep and powerful from the word go, there’s a sense of provenance within the music that allows you to believe that what you’re hearing is real, it’s meaningful, and right now all that matters are the bass heavy tones on offer. In my humble opinion, it’s this moment that is the key moment on this EP, a track which stands out as not only accomplished, but also one which captures what Broken Banjo are all about, it’s like a musical definition. Finishing (well….apart from the secret track) on another bluesy note for Black Helldog With Boners Track the EP closes as it began, leaving you safe in the knowledge that proper blues rock is still in good hands, and Broken Banjo are leading the way.
With Rhythm and Blues meaning something completely different in the modern world of music, it’s refreshing to hear a band taking influence from the greats of the blues world and doing those influences justice. Broken Banjo refuse to accept convention or follow the rules, and that could well be what makes this EP so damned exciting to hear.
Words: Dave Nicholls