Broken Water is a three-piece outfit from Olympia, WA. They appear to be operating now, though if you didn’t know any better, you’d think these seven inches of wax were pressed somewhere around 1991. Here I’ll just take a moment of silence to cross myself and nostalgically gaze toward an invisible distant object in which I see the past romantically miraged. This ‘official’ debut, which appears to be untitled, or perhaps ‘self-titled’, consists of two brick-walled tracks of dampened, reverb-tinged vocals, trebly reverb-drenched guitar, and ever-so-subtle bass. The songwriting is simple, but the aesthetic is dead on
. In 2009 folks were trying to figure out how to make the Marshalls and Mesa Boogies their parents bought them sound like a 10-watt Gorilla (Wavves, Eat Skull, et al.), and meanwhile Broken Water is rediscovering for us the sadly abandoned sounds of desert-tinged depression rock’n’roll.
The first track (A-side) is “Boyfriend Hole”, about five minutes of your standard verse-chorus-verse kinda song. While the format and construction are simple, don’t discount the tune just yet. The lead riff is so simple—only four notes, I think, played at various keys. But this riff has burrowed into my skull and now it won’t climb out. The liner in the sleeve of this 7” attributes the vocals to a lady named Kanako, and unfortunately this is all I know about her. Her vocals on this track (and the next) are perfect for this music—deadpan, but right in key where she should be. And this helps me to focus on the emotion (or lack thereof, cause this lady sounds sad
) that is carried in her voice. A-side is a success. We rocked, I envisioned myself cruising through Nevada at 9pm, and I felt motivated to queue up some Pixies albums.
The B-side isn’t quite the rocker as its counterpart, but it is nonetheless a success. The climbing guitar riff jitters up the neck and then crumbles back down again, over and over. All the while, Kanako’s voice sooths in words that I can’t make out. Is she not annunciating, or is the garbly distortion and eternal spring of the guitar obscuring everything behind it? The drums on this one sound less like they’re in a cavern and more like they’re in my basement. Still heavily effected on all edges, “Mother” is a great flipside for “Boyfriend Hole”.
If there’s anything I don’t like about this 7”, it’s that I don’t have more Broken Water to listen to right now. Well actually I think they might have a few additional jams on their MySpace right now. But once you hear a band like this on vinyl, you won’t wanna settle for 128kbps! According to their ‘press’ sheet, the band is working on some additional jams that will be out soon (or already?). This particular 7” is self-released and nicely packaged in a letter-press jacket. 7/10 -- Michael Jantz (14 January, 2010)