Expect clouds, rain, and thunder with this CD. Tim McDonald, the spine of Broken Poets, grabs his farflung acreage of the folk rock territory right from the start, defending it with might and main, crying out against unheeding humanity in apocalyptic passions with sad minor chords counterpointing all the intensity of the ensemble's drive. Svetlana Antropova and Russ Phaneuf are drop dead perfect in dramatically painting the backgrounds, alternatingly classically poised, threnodically morose, diastolically energetic, quietly contemplative, and moodily glowering. The depth of McDonald's convictions force the listener to put aside whatever might have been occupying him and listen. There's no easy escape from the darkly bewitching profundity of his existentialism, nor from the magisteriality of his expositions, grey, windy, and lightning impregnated. The engineering here is a trifle more skewed to the low register than it should be, but the cuts are quite lush, balancing out to a very satisfactory ambience (and, as I always remind readers: EQs were made for a reason!).
The group's name is apropos, as McDonald pens lyrics (included on a separate sheet) with true poetic force in a Byronically admonitory refusal to settle for what the world is dishing up while keeping a Whitman-ish love for nature. He wrote the music as well and has a canny way with inflection, knowing when to come down hard on the beat, spread the chords, mesh his backing cast for a clear and harmonious unity, or separate things out for emphasis. The majors had better sit up. Their fare is no longer satisfactory, and the sheer velocity of the indie underground is rapidly dethroning what was formerly an incontestable primacy. One day, Clive Gotbux and his Cheatham, Scroom & Howe labels are gonna wake up to a new frontier, one that will be ushering the old reptiles out the back door as the creatives finally take the reins and we finally get a resurgence of a golden age had three to four decades ago. Very little would suit art better than that.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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