This Broken Hands article was written by Al Hall, a GIGsoup contributor
The Kentish five-piece have laid down a bold marker of intent in their first studio effort, mixing catchy garage blues with elements of psychedelia, resulting in an album worthy of attention. Up until now, the band has gigged extensively, including an appearance at Reading Festival in 2014, but with the release of Turbulence they have proved that they can also come up with the goods in the studio.
The album kicks off with the upbeat and catchy Meteor. The song begins with a series of special effects reminiscent of the “Close Encounters” film series, before launching into a chugging Black Keys-esque guitar riff. The song uses a clever dynamic, alternating between relative emptiness and frantic activity, which is perhaps symbolic of the chaotic lifestyle of the drug-using protagonist in the lyrics. The song builds subtly through the verse through the addition of backing vocals before reaching its epic climax in the chorus.
Another highlight comes in the form of Death Grip. This song has a more electronic and dance feel to it, and would not be at all out of place on a Day & Age-era Killers album. This song also contains a strong psychedelic element with an almost hypnotic guitar-riff that runs throughout the track, and a return of the UFO style sound effects heard in Meteor. All of this is transcended by an impressive vocal line which, through its expansiveness, conjures a sensation of a loss of reality.
The menacing Who Sent You beings with a Muse-esque rolling jungle drumbeat accompanied by a heavily distorted bass riff. This song continues the space theme of the album, the chorus asking “Who sent you from another planet”, and the song describes the confusion and fear of encountering a being from another world. The contrast of the stripped back, drum-driven verse to the sense-assaulting chorus makes this song an instant stand-out, and you are guaranteed to be humming the chorus refrain under your breath for days after hearing it.
Broken Hands have stamped their identity all over this exciting and exceptional first effort in a way that many bands can only dream to do. Translating into the studio what has previously only been experienced live is not an easy undertaking, but Turbulence has it all, and as debut albums come, it doesn’t get much better than this. It would be fair to say that whilst Turbulence many only represent one small step for music, it is one giant leap for Broken Hands.
Turbulence is out now on SO Recordings.