Coming in between Brokenwingtrick, a collection of fractured guitar and voice covers of well-known pop songs, and Broken, which applies the same conceit to mostly jazz standards, Brokenworld is Kate Schutt's first album of original material. Largely lacking the wry playfulness of the radical, stripped-down re-arrangements on the two covers CDs, Brokenworld is almost painfully earnest socio-political folk. Recorded live in front of a small audience with just Schutt's voice and guitar, Brokenworld is as stark and oddly unsettling as the back cover's close-up shot of Schutt's nude, hunched shoulders. The epic-length "Calpernia," a half-spoken song based on a real gay-bashing incident, is the album's most striking track, pitched somewhere between Patti Smith and Ani DiFranco. The rest of the album is less memorable; lacking the jazz influences and full-band accompaniment of Schutt's later albums like the excellent No Love Lost. Brokenworld is serviceable singer/songwriter folk that comes across as the work of an obviously talented but still unformed artist. Later albums like Heart-Shot or the aforementioned No Love Lost are a better starting point.
by Stewart Mason