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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.
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]
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