Vancouver’s The Broken Islands have feasted well on the carcasses of fallen genres – the bones of post-rock; shoegaze; trip-hop and any number of dark-wave permutations to come up with what might well be a genre in its own right – Canuckcore, anyone?
Comprising guitarist Will MacDonald; guitarist Kurtis Sheldan (alternating lead and rhythm duties between them); Stephen Cameron on bass; Ty Badali on drums; keyboardist Rachel Ashmore and singer, Rachelle Boily, the band have ignored the rulebook and developed their own strategy to conquer the world. Having taken a year to write the tracks which would eventually form their debut release, they took over a local venue to launch themselves into public consciousness. With two support acts, they won over the sell-out crowd and immediately had two offers from producers wanting to work with the band. Readily accepting the services of Dave “The Rave” Ogilvie, known for his work with industrial titans, Skinny Puppy; Trent Reznor and Killing Joke, the end result is a milestone in rock music.
Wars is a staggeringly accomplished album, from the jauntily robotic No-One Left to Kill, which sounds like Morcheeba with murder on their mind; the devastating majesty of Crown, to the soaring, chiming peaks of El Dorado, they are a band who challenge convention and expectation, weaving crashing guitars around delicate, zephyr-like vocals and who can effortlessly combine vast organic soundscapes with yesterday’s sound of the future. Packed with emotion, malevolence, tenderness, and paradoxes, The Broken Islands are the band that offers hope to a rock scene devoid of intelligence and true drama.
Featured image by Luc Frost.