The Broken Family Band

Hello Love

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The opening track from the Broken Family Band's fourth album, "Leaps," is a chugging power pop tune built on a single-minded rhythm guitar part straight out of the early Stereolab catalog. So in other words, the Broken Family Band seem to have gotten a little tired of the whole alt-country vibe of their previous work. Indeed, second track "Love Your Man, Love Your Woman" recalls Sloan's tongue in cheek updating of '70s arena rock clich├ęs, right down to the Slade-like football terrace chant of the chorus. After that hard-boogying one-two punch, things move at least a little closer to the minor key twang of previous Broken Family Band discs on lower-voltage tunes like the jangly "Julian" and the simply gorgeous but lyrically clear-eyed "You Get Me" (" mister, don't fuck up!"), while "Dancing on the Fourth Floor" is an odd offshoot into the land of the Kaiser Chiefs. Throughout it all, they still sound like the Broken Family Band; with lead singer Steven Adams' deliciously whiny croak of a voice (the band's true love-it-or-hate-it dealbreaker), they could hardly sound otherwise. But Hello Love is the sound of a band completely overhauling the sonic details of their music while remaining true to its heart, and they pull it off handily. This may well be their finest album so far.