Label: 4AD Release date: 25/10/10 Link: Official Site Buy: Amazon Scottish indie-folk band Broken Records release their hotly-awaited follow-up to 2009’s Until The Earth Begins To Part, poignantly named Let Me Come Home. Their aforementioned debut album was, according to singer and frontman Jamie Sutherland, ‘about all the shitty things men do’, but this new album is a more subtle offering about Sutherland’s fears over relationships and security. Although this band are by no means a concept band, they do think long and hard about their music, and there is no doubt there is a more contemplative theme around Let Me Come Home. The vocals of Sutherland better suit this sound, and this is a band that seem more mature and more comfortable with their sound. There is urgency right from the outset, as we see Sutherland et al proclaim that they ‘want to feel alive’ in album opener ‘A Leaving Song’. Similarly, this theme continues in ‘Modern Worksong, as Sutherland asks ‘won’t you give me a reason to sing’. The aptly named ‘Dia Dos Namorados!’ (Day of the Enamoured) sees the band collaborate with Jill O’Sullivan of Sparrow and the Workshop in a more ghostly, mournful offering that really shows off the intrinsic, almost self-wallowing nature of this album. However, what stops Let Me Come Home from being too depressing is the wonderful musical arrangement, which is both talented and understated, and makes all the difference between this being your average moany indie album to a really very well put together record. The folky jigs of ‘A Darkness Rises Up’ and ‘Aliene’ epitomises the team effort behind this album, using a whole manner of instruments – pianos, strings and acoustic guitars - whilst a driving bassline propels the music along. ‘You Know You’re Not Dead’ deserves a mention too, building up from an inauspicious start to an epic foot tapping finale that sounds like about fifty people have joined in. This last song brings up the most surprising, but arguably most important aspect of this record. It’s not often that the bass is commented on, and especially so in an indie band, but considering this was bassist Gill’s final hurrah with the band it’s a considerable shame he left. Inventive basslines are very challenging to balance without getting into Flea levels of showing off, and the depth Let Me Come Home displays is mainly down to the role of this often-underappreciated instrument. Inevitably, Broken Records will draw comparisons with national and musical compatriots Idlewild (who this particular writer grew up worshipping), but this a record darker, more urgent and up-to-date than anything Roddy Woomble and co ever released. Perhaps the only criticism would be the fact Sutherland doesn’t use as natural a vocal tone as perhaps he could, but then again this is nitpicking and should not detract from an otherwise outstanding album. Photobucket