A1 I Found The F (2:21)
A2 Black Cat (3:59)
A3 Tender Buttons (2:52)
A4 America's Boy (3:34)
A5 Tears In The Typing Pool (2:12)
A6 Bit 35 (1:49)
A7 Subject To The Ladder (3:14)
B1 Corporeal (3:56)
B2 Arc Of A Journey (5:18)
B3 Michael A Grammar (3:57)
B4 Minus 3 (0:47)
B5 Goodbye Girls (3:09)
B6 You And Me In Time (1:25)
B7 I Found The End (2:05)
It's good, but it's not great.
I think Broadcast are turning into Stereolab, in that with each new album I have to think, do I really need more music that sounds like this? Generally speaking, once you get past the opening number on a Stereolab album, which can show off a new-found inventiveness, it's straight back to business as usual. Specifically speaking you'll notice this most strongly on Fuses from 1999's Cobra and Phases... and Metronomic Underground from 1996's Emperor Tomato Ketchup. I can't speak for this year's Chemical Chords, but when I can be bothered to listen to it, I undoubtedly will.
So, this record is a collection of Broadcast songs, and a few instrumentals. Minus 3 is a throwaway piece of synth burble, I Found The End a nice coda and counterpart to the opening track, and Bit 35 the best for it's chugging-train rhythms.
Unfortunately some of the songs share a fault with Air's tracks, in that you can just sing the title in the style of the band and you'll get a fair idea of what the song is like. So, Black Cat goes: The black cat the black cat/Curiouser and curiouser, but not before some guff about "Model euphonic paradigms" and "Shadowing masonic verve", as if Trish had a mystical-cat-based-song-lyric generator. Subject To The Ladder also goes "Subject to the la-ha-dder"; You and Me in Time does much the same.
To be fair Michael A Grammer goes "Michael, Michael, Michael", and is the best tune for a single release, with the line 'My feet are dancing so much', and the upbeat stylings to match. So why they put out the yawningly-political America's Boy (Gun me down with Yankee power/Cockpit Tom with army charm/The eagle lands army commands/Oi American soldier/America's boy) instead I don't know.
The tracks that stand out are the ones that stray from the familiar synth-heavy retro-futurist Broadcast blueprint. Tears In The Typing Pool doesn't promise much from the title, but is a sad and lovely little acoustic guitar-backed break-up tune. The title track has much spoken-word weirdness over the top of Bit 35-like instruments.
I'm going to mention this because I want to shoe-horn in a reference to David Foster Wallace, the author who committed suicide a week ago. In his novel Infinite Jest Hal's father Jim Incandenza's own father is, in his youth, a tennis player. In a set-up that explores and explains some of the family dynamic of the Incandenzas, we have a flash back to the only game his own father (Jim's grandfather) came to watch (the mother, tellingly, at every game), and the last game of his burgeoning tennis career, as there is an accident on court as he overhears one spectator, a client of Jim's grandfather saying to him, "You know what... your son is Good"; the reply coming back, "Yes, But He'll Never Be Great". I kind of feel the same way about Broadcast, whilst at the same time being completely unrelated to them and not wishing them any ill.