The Farewell Broadcast – self-titled EP
Review by Hannah of www.rockmycommute.com
Check out the website for The Farewell Broadcast – you’ll be drawn in right away to the well-executed photographs depicting a lonely astronaut in a modern landscape of windmills and emptiness. The “about” section will tell you that this project is a solo endeavor by the Seattle-based guitarist from a group called STRNGRTHNGS (with whom I am not otherwise familiar). Let me tell you right away, the style is emo – but acoustic. It really feels like Jimmy Eat World for grown-ups!
The first track is understandably dissonant for something with such a gloomy title, with spoken vocals crackling through like a broken transmission. Lyrics like “Lost in this abyss / like an astronaut searching for God” and phrases plein de references to a “transient being” and “disembodied voice” set the tone for this EP in the vein of the also-lonely Starman, Ziggy Stardust, or Rocket Man.
The second track, depressingly called “Wristcutters” is pleasant to listen to musically (if you would enjoy acoustic emo), but a bit sad for my taste. As the singer laments “and this would be the end” he tells the story of a young love that is dark but otherwise cute. It reminds me quite a bit of a Ben Folds song, given the simple execution but dry narrative of a heavy topic. The next song, “Sailors” opens with bleak acoustic chords again – but there is a great electrified guitar solo, and strong strings in the background of the chorus “I may die but I will not leave / for we are bound, you and I like sailors to the sea / I am sinking away from you”.
Track #4 (called “Cemeteries” lest you think there is suddenly a burst of optimism here) is also musically strong, rife with tender piano and thoughtful guitar as Logan Johnson sings “Darling I am not coming home / this box of bones cannot hold you anymore / in a place I was never meant to stay”. Track #5 is called “I love you.” “I know.” which just has to be a well-timed Star Wars reference, right? Musically, this is my favorite track on the release. Vocally, this is still very emo but at the same time unplugged and very pretty: “I took my chances and I bet all my life on you”. The melodic themes in his song start to overlap, in undulating and repeating “round” format, filling in a very beautiful texture later on in the song.
The last track, called “The Boy is Dead” is full of a low violin sound (maybe viola, or cello?) that builds slowly in the background as strong, strummy chords support the clever yet moody emo lyrics describing another love story gone wrong: “I’ve searched every star in the sky and I’ve never found anything as beautiful as you”. The song eventually drops out to acapella vox sorrowfully stating – “you’re still gone”. This reminds me a bit of a Starflyer 59 shoegaze sensitivity, before jumping back to full instrumentation for the close.
This EP by The Farewell Broadcast is short and sweet – I like the artwork on the website, and the singer’s voice and production quality is not unpleasant. The songs are just a bit dark for my personal taste, but as I mentioned if you liked emo or even power pop – full of electricity back in the day, you might appreciate this mellower version of the music you love: the simpler, guitar-based version of a style that you already enjoy.