Track Review: The Broken West “Perfect Games” (Live, WOXY Lounge Acts)

    You can usually tell a lot about a band”and the direction in which they”’re heading”by the songs they choose to cover. When the Broken West”’s I Can”’t Go On, I”’ll Go On dropped last year, they were a hard act to put a finger on. Half the album (the worse half) came off like a lazy gesture toward A.M.-era Wilco; the other (and better) half like an attempt to remix some production into the low-fi punch of early-period Guided by Voices. It was a tough sell as a whole, and (a few gems notwithstanding) it didn”’t really stick.[more:]
    Then, a few months later, I accidentally came across the band doing a live in-studio cover of GBV”’s ””Game of Pricks.”” It”’s not a very good cover; just a straight-up acoustic rendition. But never mind that”to me, this was a signal that not only was their record collection a little more Pollard than Tweedy, but more importantly, that they”’d identified their most durable strength as a band: Crafting good old-fashioned power pop.
    ””Perfect Games”” confirms this notion in spades. The driving chords here are pure GBV”think ””Girls of Wild Strawberries”” as its schematic touchstone”and the melody trumps anything that I Can”’t Go On had to offer. ””And we waste our time / When we could be righting every wrong”” goes the vocal”’s refrain”and it”’s got a point. As moral compasses go, there are worse directions to point than Really Big Chorus. [Listen/Download “Perfect Games” at WOXY]