Here’s another example of being late to the party. In my defence, I have only recently been connected to Coffee Jingle Records artists and therefore The Broken Arrows have only just appeared on my radar. Their latest EP Nothing Personal was released back in March and it’s a great introduction to the Southampton blues-rock band.
They formed while students at Southampton Solent University in 2010 and have since gone on to play several gigs along the south coast. Nothing Personal is their debut record which is now being heard by their rapidly growing following. Their main mission is to “restore rock music to this generation of plastic pop”, which sounds like a pretty exciting prospect in my book!
It begins with No Place To Go, a smooth funky guitar acting as its front door with some retro-inspired indie vocals. The blues thread is already prominent and the combination of this and the unpolished, rough-edged style makes for a chilled pop-rock sound. An atmospheric guitar solo just before the final chorus grabs your attention and this is something that The Broken Arrows continue to pull out the bag on all four songs in fact.
Get Me Down has a great Beatles-esque vibe to it that brings rock and roll right into the 21st century. Piano chimes add another dimension while the instruments steal the show over the dreary vocals. Cymbals shimmer through the rhythm as a groove-fuelled riff leaves you reeling, despite it being a simple indie blues number with a lot of reinforced riffs and beats.
Sidestepping over to the dark side of the second half of the EP, Eyes Fixed On The Sky shows off a country twang. It’s much darker sounding that its predecessors and even takes on a slightly Franz Ferdinand note. A lot of Americana influence is at play here and once again, a tricksy guitar solo towards the end ties it all together. This is perhaps the catchiest song on the EP due to its upbeat rhythm and perfect balance of light and shade.
Ending on the title track, Nothing Personal is another dark, mysterious track. A deep bass introduces it and the melodious vocals come as a bit of a twist after we’ve become used to hearing a classic British indie drawl. It resembles the music atypical of a misty blues club until the drum arrives and kicks it up a gear. The second half is much more playful and it seems to dance its way through the rest of the track, which sees its vocals become quiet and whispery before slowly dying. The bass leads it out and the track gradually fades.
Reflecting a classic indie blues hybrid sound, Nothing Personal shows The Broken Arrows to be a band who love to take us on an unpredictable journey. I love that you can clearly hear a diverse range of influences in just four songs too, meaning that the sound of any future releases remain a mystery.