This LP was partially funded by the Norwich Arts Center and Arts Council England. How cool is that? A city in the eastern part of the middle of England helping some local musicians create something interesting. All that the arts council in my town does is sponsor murals and occasionally place an piece of odd sculpture. But, Broads are in the UK, where electronic music is kind of taken for granted, and i am in The Bible Belt, where we certainly love our sculptures.
But i really enjoy this record. This is a thoughtful listener's electronic music. It is not driven by dancefloor rhythms nor it is ambient haze -- Field Theory occupies a middle ground.
The record starts with a faint hollow whooshing and some loud reverbing keyboards in Toze, a short interlude to start things off.
Someone named Milly Hirst joins Broads for the only vocalled track on the record, Climbs. This is a sultry, ebbing tune, like something from the 1990s trip-hop scene. The beat is subtle and bass-heavy, and the synths move in dark washes. A male voice comes in, and Ms. Hirst just provides a backing vocal. She is the better singer here, as he kind of speaks his part. This is pretty good for trip-hop, if you like that kind of thing.
Habitats, which is up after the vocals, is really engaging. There is a skipping beat, some organ drone, and a nice guitar riff. Just those simple elements building a song that skips along nicely.
The next track, Lund (ft. FMSAO) is a little slower and deeper. It is dominated by a nice little keyboard trill, a high-hat tapping, and a deep and slightly out of focus layer that sounds like an eBowed guitar. It is the most ambient piece so far, and rather nice.
Broads get close to the dancefloor for Us and the Buzzing. This has some skittering beats and, indeed, a buzzing noise. There are layers of synths like from a 1990s trance song. It bounces along happily.
Romero is a short interlude of piano and atmospheric noises. And then Let Me Take It From Here flies in, the base layer of this song being a wooden tinkling that brings to mind Tortoise, only the rhythm isn't as complex as something that Tortoise would do. Not to say that is boring, just that it doesn't require the degree in advanced mathematics that Tortoise often requires. Anyway, i like the way the wooden thunking sample drives the tune along, and the other layers of synths that add an almost New Wavey layer over top. This is good.
My most least favorite tune on the record is up next: Tiamat. This features a tapped beat, a tinkling noise (less Tortoise and more high-pitched and slightly metallic) and some droning keys. It moves along okay, but never really seems to jell like the rest of the record does.
Another interlude is next, called Mixed-Ability Sequencing and is strummed guitar and a slight drone. It fades out and some ambient synths sparkle by. A faint piano joins it, and we are in The Lecht. At seven minutes this is the longest track here. The piano meanders, and then Broads join in with a full band. Suddenly, this is post-rock. I like the horns that they layer in, and the high-pitched violin to go with the thundering drums and the guitar hammering at it. This is gloriously messy, but really works.
And finally we end the record with a faint coda of clicking beat and synths, called Built Calypso. This is a nice fade out to the record.
And it's a really solid record. Cheers to the Norwich Council for the Arts for helping to fund the creation of this. But are you sure that we couldn't interest you in a sculpture?