Overall Score: 9/10 Songwriting: 10/10 Huge Choruses: 10/10 Creativity: 8/10 Pros: One of the years' surprise standout releases Cons: Very little
If 2020 was an album title, it would be Into The Raging Sea. In fact, this review needs to drop soon otherwise the world may well have fully dissolved before our very eyes before you get chance to read me waxing lyrical about the new Broadside album.
That’s right, there’s no suspense here, this is a seriously good record. How good, you ask? Walk with me.
There is no doubt that the Richmond, Virginia collective have produced their best work to date. If you can imagine being thrown into the raging sea and being left to fend for yourself, then you’ve got what this album is all about. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, a cascade of thoughts, feelings, anxiety, uncertainty, defiance and that warm fuzzy feeling in the eye of the storm when you know that despite the chaos swirling around you, everything is going to be ok.
At times Broadside have been, perhaps harshly, described as just another Pop Punk band. But it was always an ill-fitting title, and Into The Raging Sea demonstrates this more than ever. The title track builds slowly, laying the foundations of anguish and frustration before exploding into a crescendo of almighty proportions. Imagine waves crashing across the rocks in the midst of a storm as frontman Ollie Baxxter laments “What’s the fucking point,” for full emotional effect.
The quartet might be more than a Pop Punk band but that doesn’t mean that they won’t dip into it whenever the mood takes them. Case in point, the catchy as hell, dripping with romanticism ‘Foolish Believer.’ There are plenty of standout moments on the album as you’ll discover as you journey through it, but this one-two punch of the opening couple of tracks are as good as anything you’ll hear anywhere.
‘Overdramatic’ is a superbly solid offering, but the next couple of tracks are where the band really launch themselves in the stratosphere. You’d have to have a heart made of granite and despair to not get wrapped up in the nostalgia fest that is ‘Nights Alone.’ It’s a track that will give even the toughest and most unflinching among you all of the feelings. All of the damn feelings. One of the things that really makes Broadside such a good band to get lost in, is their song writing. They don’t try to be too cleaver or twist obscure metaphors just for the sake of it, they just have a habit of knowing how to write lyrics that connect with the listener.
“Can I take you for a ride on a Saturday night? Wanna lose my mind on your body tonight
We were underneath the stars with a bottle of wine. She said, Come on, baby, lose control
She said, The world moves fast, so drive it slow. I said The night is yours enjoy the glow.
Baby I don’t mind sleeping all alone. But I’d rather wake up next to you”
Simple, effective, magic.
‘Heavenly’ sees the band continue on the same, loved up roll, except this time with more electronic influence. Packed full of singalong-ability, cracking vocals and punchy riffs, it’s a track that just makes you happy. However, it wouldn’t Broadside if this euphoria wasn’t brought to a shuddering halt by a hefty dose of anxiety and regret in the form of ‘Clarity.’
Then much the same as in real life those all-consuming feelings of negativity and uncertainty are washed away as quickly as they arrived. The remedy in this case is the brilliantly feel-good ‘Dancing On The Ceiling (With You)’ It’s not the Lionel Richie cover I’m sure you were all hoping for, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun.
‘Seasons’ and ‘Breathe You In’ are perfectly fine without setting the world alight, before the band return to top form for the rockier ‘The Setting Sun’ and epically sprawling closing track ‘Burning At Both Ends.’
If the human brain has invented an emotion then at some point Into The Raging Sea will make you feel it. And it’s that commitment to holding nothing back and embracing that confusing bundle of emotion that we call the human condition that makes it such a good album. Package that song writing up with a fantastic vocal performance and a range of banging riffs and you’ve got quite the stunning album. See your favourite websites’ 2020 end of year list for more details.