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I Can't Go On, I'll Go On

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Album Review

The Broken West may hail from Los Angeles but they reside at the crossroads where indie rock, power pop and country-rock meet and mix together into something quite wonderful. Unfailingly tuneful and sweetly melodic, the group's debut is a rollicking gem of a record that may remind you of lots of bands but it also vaults them on an equal footing. Not too many bands can equal their influences on their first try, but the Broken West do it. There are a couple keys to their success, the first of which is some judicious borrowing of classic techniques and sounds. From power pop they borrow tight vocal harmonies, walls of chiming guitars and classic song structures, from country-rock they take barroom pianos and a general looseness, and indie rock provides the atmospheric, reverb-y production. Other bands have attempted a similar thing and done fairly well (Beachwood Sparks, the Bigger Lovers) but the Broken West are one of the few that put all the pieces together perfectly. The second way they succeed is by giving their warmer-than-the-California-sun sound a jolt of East Coast toughness and energy. So many bands confuse being laid-back with being comatose, so it's good to hear a band who give their richly layered tunes some heart and soul. Of course, all of this would add up to something nice but forgettable if the band had no good tunes; luckily, they do. Just about every song sounds like a radio-ready single on the best station around. The best songs (like "On the Bubble," "Hale Sunrise" and "So It Goes") are the kind you put near the front of a "please fall in love with me because I love great music" mixtape. That may not get anyone to love you but it's certain that anyone who loves this kind of classic indie rock will definitely fall in love with the Broken West and their near-perfect debut.


Formed: 2004 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

The Broken West hailed from Los Angeles, which certainly makes sense when you listen to the band's combination of pop, high-spirited rock & roll, and accents of folk and country, whose overall blend recalled some of the best L.A. music of the early '70s, as if Emitt Rhodes had teamed up with the Byrds. Featuring Texas native Ross Flournoy on vocals and guitar, Connecticut-born Dan lead on guitar and backing vocals, California sons Brian Whelan on bass and Scott Claasen on keyboards, and former Floridian...
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I Can't Go On, I'll Go On, The Broken West
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