Broods – Space Island (Album Review)

Broods – Space Island (Album Review)

To the inattentive, time really flies. Only eight years ago, Broods had just come out with Evergreen, their 2014 debut album. Now, the Auckland-hailing New Zealand duo, brother and sister Caleb and Georgia Nott, are on their fourth offering, titled Island Space.

Released back on Friday, February 18, 2022, via Island Records, Island Space is a display of Broods’ stylistic refinement–sophisticated, carefully woven, yet still carrying their trademark sheen and glow. Complete with ten tracks, it is their follow up to 2019’s Don’t Feed the Pop Monster and finds them following a new theme with the music. It all starts with the enigmatic sway of “Goodbye, World; Hello, Space Island”–spacey, dreamy, enchanting. The ensuing single “Piece of My Mind” then picks up the pace and trots sunnily into the light, exuding echoes of Donna Lewis’s “I Love You Always Forever.” Broods then return the listener immediately to the loungy, lava-lamp mood of the single “Heartbreak.”

With much more compelling music ahead, “Distance & Drugs” is a standout, for its folky, jazzy, and syncopated tendencies. A foray into the fringes of Dreampop, “I Keep,” is a single which features Tove Lo, is slightly jangly. And then there is another single “Like a Woman,” as well as “Gaslight,” both of whose calming minimalist instrumentation will float the listener in solitary space. Broods then switch to quiet mode even further, with the breezy, starry-eyed, and jazzy allure of “Days Are Passing.” “Alien” then descends gracefully with its guitar-folky sensibilities. Finally, the Nott siblings take the listener with them to their journey to the farthest reach of the spatial mind, while “If You Fall in Love” is spinning in the background.

In the contemporary music scene, countless artists come and go. Longevity really requires passion, discipline, and most importantly, songwriting genius for it to happen. Broods are among the enduring survivors of the 2010s batch of Synthpop dabblers, which to this day is still youthfully running up the bushy hill. Nearly a decade into their career, they continue to grow, and Space Island is a proof of that. That is why Cryptic Rock gives their latest album 4 out of 5 stars.

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aLfie vera mella
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Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature. In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music. aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He started writing album reviews for Cryptic Rock in 2015. In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf?; in 2021, his first book of poetry, Pag-íhip sa Dáhon ng Kahápon [Blowing Leaves of Yesterday]. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. aLfie is a dedicated father to his now 13-year-old son, Evawwen; and a loving husband to Kathryn Mella, who herself moonlights also as a writer aside from holding a degree in Bachelor of Arts, Major in Sociology.

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