The hype around Broadside’s new album Paradise has been somewhat spectacular. Already they had released four tracks, three of which were accompanied by some stunning, or rather silly, music videos, and each held true promise for what was to come. Considering their debut release Old Bones was such a hard hitting pop punk album, it would be easy to assume that Paradise would follow suit – Hidden Colours, Puzzle Pieces and Paradise, certainly did seem to sway that way – but how would the rest of the album fair?
Lose Your Way is the first previously unreleased track to check out and it dives in a little harder than the first few we’d heard. So far it’s quintessentially Broadside which is surely of comfort to fans who live for that kind of sound. We get a small dose of vocals from Dorian Cooke, who also doubles up on guitar, and his voice is somewhat smoother than that of frontman Oliver Baxxter. Each track thus far has had a clear theme, Hidden Colours seemed to be about someone seeing the beauty you don’t see in yourself, Paradise was about living life how you truly want it and Lose Your Way? That’s about not being beaten down by failure on your way to your paradise.
A similar theme runs into the next track Disconnect; ‘Don’t hesitate. Focus on the path that’s laid before you and disconnect’ and ‘When’s the last time you felt alive?’ are two of the stand out lines from the song, it preaches that age old motto of ‘seizing the day’ and that you can do that much better by pulling away from social media. It’s a solid song and it’s message is one that maybe a lot of us should follow when looking to find motivation for our creative endeavours.
The opening riff of Tunnel Vision is somewhat unexpected but welcomed as it draws the ear from the typical pop punk. It’s something that carries the song really well, and it leads to a very My Chemical Romance-esque breakdown. There’s suddenly a huge jump from that harsher sound to the acoustic offering of Summer Stained. It’s the first true showcase of both Baxxter and Cooke’s vocals and it compliments perfectly as they share the song between them and it builds, like a quiet unanswered plead to a cry for help, as they push their voices higher to sing ‘I’m on the edge and i’m losing grip’.
Miss Imperius has an echo of The 1975 in it’s verses but it breaks up the song quite nicely, letting it move almost like a rollercoaster and the chorus acts as the drop, fast-paced and exciting. What’s a good rollercoaster without a couple of loops? They’re added in courtesy of a surprising guitar solo toward the end of the track.
Perhaps the most shocking transition from their debut, and perhaps the best track on the album, comes from the final track I Love You. I Love You. It’s Disgusting. This is the second acoustic offering on the album, though it’s introduced with the soft, summer-like sounds of a ukelele. As you can imagine from the title, it is very much a love song and is a ballad to those who, despite long distance, manage to make a healthy relationship work. As you get further into the song, it’s not hard to imagine someone serenading their love on a beach by a campfire. It’s a beautifully crafted track and a true reflection of how talented Baxxter is as a vocalist, highlighting his range and the band as a whole on their ability to tackle something quite far removed from what they’re known for.
Simply put, Paradise triumph. Broadside have shown in 11 tracks that they are not afraid to transform their sound and stray from what is so typical for pop punk nowadays. They stand out among some of the juggernauts of the genre by pushing the boundaries and exploring what sounds good for them. And really, armed with their huge anthemic choruses that preach unbridled positivity, what’s not to love? If you take away anything from this album, other than it easily being a strong contender for album of the year, let it be that you can do anything and be anything, no matter how you struggle. The importance of that, especially with the tragic events as of late, is huge.