The Broken String
Dead Oceans Records
4 out of 5
By Bob Hartzer
Bishop Allens’ second full-length release, Bishop Allen & The Broken String, is a pretty indie-pop album. Those familiar with the band may have heard about their ambitious EP project, wherein they released an EP for every month of the year in 2006. This album is a return to the LP format and is very well put together. The bands Myspace page describes, perhaps in jest, their sound as an oatmeal cookie. Well, they are not far off. To be quite honest, there is not a bad song on the record. The album is a somewhat formulaic indie-pop album, with pretty lyrics set to pretty music.
This is most certainly not a bad thing, but if you are looking for a sound with some gristle to chew on, &The Broken String is not your best bet. The album opens with ‘The Monitor’, which achieves a very full, majestic sound. It begins softly with acoustic guitar and the band slowly comes in, one by one, until a beautifully active peak. ‘Click, Click, Click, Click’ brings to the table an irritatingly catchy chorus which you may be muttering to yourself for days. Bishop Allen explore some darker themes in ‘The News From Your Bed,’ which is a light-hearted take on depression and loneliness. The tender song ‘Butterfly Nets,’ with vocals by Darbie Nowatka, has a wonderful tenor saxophone solo by Jon Natchez. My recommended track on the album is ‘Flight 180,’ a heartfelt ballad complete with violins and piano. On & The Broken String, Bishop Allen demonstrate yet again their talent for crafting pretty, catchy indie-pop songs. This is definitely worth a listen.