Pop music, as crazy as it might seem, is the really ultimate form of rebellion in times of oppression and division. Of course there is a place for almost every kind of non-violent protest, but music is itself a universal language that knows no boundaries of linguistics, government or social separation. Music integrates all of us into the singular human race that we are, and bands like Broken Baby are what keep the fire of emotional realism alive when there’s nowhere else to turn to. In their new album, Broken Baby, the duo charm listeners with their aggressive blend of punk rock brutality and neo-psychedelic heaviness and set a new tone for the alienated state of the western world. That tone is based in love, acceptance and a never ending search for justice, and in the tradition of punk’s most iconic figures Broken Baby contribute their own unique verse to the grand drama that is life in America, or better put, life under American rule.
Broken Baby packs a lot of attitude compared to the albums that it would likely be compared to this year, but in their unfiltered rock there isn’t a stitch of compromise or down-tuned play to be found. There’s just a lot of guitars smashing into each other and everything else in their path, vocalist Amber Bollinger evenly distributing one razor tongued verse after another, the feeling of urgency that drives us to chase the gallop of the band’s rhythm, no matter what ungodly speed it might be traveling at. The best part to all of this mayhem? Broken Baby never deems it necessary to get plainly political or self-righteous in their rants, which end up making these songs (especially “Year of the Fat Man”) feel more like a running commentary than they do angered diatribes. 2018, much like 2011, has been a year where activism is on the rise and young people are holding the ideals of their forerunners under a microscope once more, and when that kind of energy is occupying the majority of our minds and hearts we downright require a band that will play the right songs to usher us into meaningful – and justifiable – conflict.
The closing track on Broken Baby is perhaps the most moving, and ironically also the most jarring. It features Bollinger’s silky falsetto in full bloom and a danger-laden guitar riff that swings like a pendulum between straight dance rock and shapeless post-punk, and in just under four minutes it leaves us feeling as if we were just swept away by a muscular lover capable of doing most anything we can fathom. There’s so much color, so much diversity in Broken Baby’s sound that it can almost be a little nauseating to take this album in all at once, but trust me – as intimidatingly wide ranging as this record is, it’s necessary listening for reasons that go well beyond catchy beats and fun, memorable grooves. Broken Baby are fighting the good fight, and if you’re not fighting alongside them you might just find yourself on the wrong side of history come 2020.