Album Review
by [Edit by] SashaS

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Broadcast: 'Tender Buttons' and between
Broadcast: 'Tender Buttons'
Broadcast’s Trish explains the art of “letting go”

“There is a theme of letting go on ‘Tender Buttons’,” says Broadcast’s frontwoman Trish Keenan when describing the band's new album. “A flower lets go of its fragrance, Michael lets go of his past and I let go of my embarrassment of letting go.”

“‘Tender Buttons’ is a solar system of songs,” Trish elaborates further. “Each song has its own environment, its own set of inhabitants with their own psychological perspective on life.”

“The Broadcast vision is the meeting of human emotion in the electronic world. The optimistic belief in the compatibility of man and machine. A nature and nurture approach to music. The potential of folk, nursery rhyme and electronica to provoke memory and imagination. The past set in the future. A retrospective lyric set in an electronic description of an organic world.”

“I repeat myself,” Ms Keenan explains the lyrics. “I believe that through this unconscious repetition, I have been leaking messages to myself for years. Two words have come up again and again for me. These two words feature in a number of my songs and I have not realized it until now. The words are let go. I have been telling myself to let go for years. So much so I am claiming ownership of them. They are my words. I refuse to let go of them. They are going to be my reminders to let go. Perhaps my epitaph.”

“The lyrics of 'Tender Buttons' were generated through automatic writing. They are my free falling thoughts. I believe that words have their own life. That if you throw words together randomly, they naturally make sense. Language just wants to be understood.”

“Of all the ‘Tender Buttons’ songs ‘Black cat’ was the first. It is, I think, the Fortean Times song of the LP. The black cat is a metaphor for psychological hang ups, the thought processes that make us act oddly when we are disturbed by our conscience. I watched my father have black cat all my life. He tried to chase it off with alcohol but it purred around him until he died.”

“‘Goodbye Girls’ - the two words made me think of prostitutes. That you never say hello to them, meaning that you never get to know them. There are one or two prostitutes in my family. It's not hard to talk about it, but I feel protective. I guess writing ‘Goodbye Girls’ is my way of accepting it. In a way it might be unfair of me to paint a picture of them as emotionless mannequins especially when their reasons are complex. It's an energetic and colourful song though, and not a negative song if you think of it as a celebration of turning off emotion, It's OK to stop feeling for a bit isn't it?”

“The lyrics to 'America’s Boy' [former single] were generated by my reactions to a tabloid cryptic crossword. The clues were topically about the war in Iraq, and in general, their stance was one of anti-American occupation. In my frustration at not being able to decipher the clues, I began to react to them, make up my own answers, mimicking back the language of the clues. I was interested then in possible answers. I got on a roll arguing with the clues, asking questions back, taking offence to them and deliberately misreading them. What came back was a sort of celebration of the American soldier. Snap shots of the heroics of American Imperialism, the all out impressiveness of its big achievements. Also something that the British do not have in their culture, a self celebratory nature of Americans towards their own country.”

‘Tender Buttons’ is a striking personal diary and a powerful sonic imprint after a two year absence, heralding in a new sound for the band and a new-line up of just Keenan and James Cargill. 

Blending their influences of the BBC Radiophonic workshop and library music, with simple pop structures and reach-out melodies, ‘Tender Buttons’ stands out from previous albums ‘The Noise Made By People’ and ‘HAHA Sound’. Its minimalist arrangements and original lyrical settings show the band's new and liberated approach to the craft of album making. Gone are the detailed live drum performances to be replaced by sparse, hypnotic electronic drum beats, while Trish’s lyrics and uninflected vocal style reveal a fearless and developed creativity not shown before.
With three brilliant LPs and countless sold out live shows across the globe, Birmingham's Broadcast continue to prove themselves to be an innovative and captivating band. ‘Tender Buttons’ could be the band’s finest disc that is to be promoted by live dates in the UK and across Europe. Not to be missed!


Tour dates:

25 Sept - The Barbican, London (supporting Belle and Sebastian) *sold out*
26 Sept - ABC2, Glasgow
27 Sept - Night and Day, Manchester
28 Sept - Koko, London
29 Sept - The Ocean Rooms, Brighton (Imitation Electric Piano support)
30 Sept - The Social, Nottingham
02 Oct - Rotonde, Brussels
03 Oct - Rotown, Rotterdam
04 Oct - Paradiso [upstairs], Amsterdam
05 Oct - Gebaude 9, Cologne
06 Oct - Enjoy Jazz Festival, Heidelberg
07 Oct - Knaack, Berlin
08 Oct - Atomic Café, Munich
10 Oct - La Laiterie, Strasbourg
11 Oct - La Maroquinirie, Paris
12 Oct - Le Grand Mix, Tourcoing

[Edit by] SashaS
Broadcast’s album ‘Tender Buttons’ is released 19 September 2005 by Warp