There is a line in the song Back and Forth by The Dismemberment Plan which goes "there's a kind of music that reminds me of you, it's all shiny shirts and expensive drinks." Was Travis singing about Broadcast? This is, in fact, that type of music -- silk shirts and $10 martinis.
Not really my schtick usually. But this is pretty good. You see, it's not just lounge music, it's a sort of silly sci-fi lounge music. That is, it's closer to techno than it is to swing. There are all sorts of strange little drones and silly high-pitched whines that seem to have been taken from the original Star Trek series strewn about the place. They are layered over nice rhythm and groovey keyboard sounds. You can kinda dance to this, but someone with an inadequate grasp of rhythm (such as me) would have some real problems.
Broadcast make a sort of modern lounge music, so the obvious comparison is Portishead. Portishead also do that whole "chillin' with a maritini in your hand" sort of vibe. The difference, i think, is that Broadcast are a little more optimistic. Portishead have an underlying hint of despair buried in their songs. Broadcast don't have that -- there music is slow and melodic, but amazingly upbeat. It's happy music for sitting around and talking.
The wierd thing about the album, and it took me a while to figure this out exactly, is that the vocalist does NOT sing. Period. She talks the vocals -- just speaks them as is she were reading a poem, but not in a beat poetry pretentious kind of way, but more in a really laid back, just relaxing, no hurry to get the words out kind of way. It reminds of early 60's british pop. It's the kind of music that Sean Connery as James Bond listened to.
So it's a cool little album to just sit and listen to.
A few tracks stand out from the crowd. Unchanging Window is a nice epic tune. Really involved, with spiraling music. Dead The Long Year, the albums closer, brings everything together with a sort of ambient drone. The song, and the album, doesn't end so much as it just sort of fade away.
And that seems really appropriate for this disc.