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on 14 August 2003
I never know how to categorise music these days and its been years since I stopped reading the NME. Other people claim The Broken Family Band are alt-country-indie-rock. Fine if that helps you! All I know is that if you're into the likes of the Violent Femmes, Will Oldham and Pavement (amongst others) you'll love these guys too.
So what about Cold Water Songs? Well most tracks will make you feel happy, and you'll be humming and foot tapping in no time. Some will make you feel sad and you'll wonder why. A few will make you laugh out loud. And just when you thought you've heard all they have to offer, they let rip with a couple of great rock songs.
The range of music they play is inspiring really, and it all fits together perfectly due to the singer's very distinctive style and genuine lyrical wit. The guitars sound so totally at ease with gentle tear jerking chord riffs, complicated Spanish sounding solos, and the odd shred, its hard to believe its the same guy playing throughout. Drumming is solid, right from the first song kicking in (after the gentle intro) to the softly, softly brush styles later on. The bass work is also excellent (reminds me a little of Mike Watt in places) and very melodic (besides, I used to play bass and I know good bass!). Pedal steel, trumpets and organs turn up occasionally too and they enrich the songs nicely.
The Broken Family Band are a brilliant band to see live. Apart from the excellent songmanship they always create a friendly, feel-good atmosphere. This comes across on the CD to some extent which is definitely a bonus.
So to finish - I recommend that you buy this album. There, I've said it now!
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on 19 August 2003
No record has made me feel like this since the Stone Roses first album. It's a bit Pavement and a bit country like all the reviews say but there's something else here as well that everyone's missing: a detached, almost scarey attitude to songwriting that takes in bits of all sorts of musical styles and spits them it out disguised as country rock. Sam Parton from The Be Good Tanyas has a cameo and sounds like she's performing a pastiche of her own band's vocal sound - incredible. The singing throughout is somewhere between early Will Oldham and sarcastic indie boy, the guitar playing is captivating throughout: sometimes Velvets-style simplicity, sometimes pompous and fiddly. Although they sound like they're not sure whether they want to play it soft n gentle or rock like hell (so the album is a bit up and down) The Broken Family Band have made the most captivating set I've heard for a long long time. Wow.
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on 8 August 2003
The first track will have you worried about which music genre you have purchased - US hillbilly sounds. But hang in there and by the time you have heard the whole album you will be primed to listen to the first track with a fresh perspective as well. Superb vocals, impressive lyrics of the 'a good song tells a tale' variety and a refreshing and different album which I would defy anyone to dislike. Cannot think of a direct comparison to give a flavour of who they are like. Here is one to play over and over without having to select favourite tracks. One of those to get passionate about and insist all your friends listen to it.
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on 20 June 2004
Ok I am biased, I am based in Cambridge and have seen them many a time. But this band are different. They can really play and write outstanding songs. They use the full range of tempo and styles whilst keeping a fresh acoustic style. 'Don't leave that woman unattended' is a sing-a-long favourite. This CD is for you if you like alt.country and strong songmanship.
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on 29 February 2004
I 1st saw/heard The Broken Family Band live when the supported Herman Dune at the Cali Backpackers in Edinburgh a few months ago. I was hooked immediately! Country(ish) sounding tunes (from a British band) with amusing story lyrics, simply a must for anyone with a sense of humour and a love of good tunes..
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VINE VOICEon 10 August 2003
I was recommended this CD by a friend and I have to admit that it wasn't what I was expecting after reading the sleeve notes: an indie group from Cambridge it said: I was expecting Brit-pop, Pulp-esque, slightly Oasisy: a pinch of Blur and a hint of Supergrass. Oh no, no, no and thrice no! How wrong I was!
The Broken Family band are unique in that they somehow manage to sit in the previously uncharted hinterland between indie, folk rock and country and do so amazingly well. The songs are sung in some fantastic Southern US accents that evoke memories of "The Beverly Hillbillies", but fear not, for somehow that works REALLY well! The first track on the album tells the story of a guy who doesn't have the time or inclination to have a relationship: he can get everything he needs from his dog, so where's the point in making any effort? I think everyone can relate to that (well, maybe not the bit with the dog!). The CD moves on through the obscure-yet-lovable "12 Eyes Of Evil", the beautiful instrumental piece "Knut" (the origins and meaning of which I am not sure but I try not to think about them too much. It's a great track so who cares?) and various others, including my personal favourite track "Don't Leave That Woman Unattended" which is one of the best songs I've heard in years.
All round it's a great CD, albeit a little obscure in places. I would highly recommend this to anyone who likes indie, folk rock or country as somehow it manages to be all three at once, which is no mean feat! Hopefully we'll be hearing more from The Broken Family Band in the near future!
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on 30 July 2012
A friend got me to listen to this album, I loved it and instantly became a fan. Every track is brilliant. Buy all their albums! I did.
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on 1 March 2016
Some duds, but generally terrific!
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