Album Review: Broads – ‘Touch Machine’.

‘Touch Machine’ might be me most aptly titled record of last year. It’s so tactile it’s almost interactive. Human experience and feeling are all built on beds of rhythms, there’s emotion and love in the glitch. The machines and the synths bounce from syncopated hits to fragmented interactions, every swell dishing out glimmers of romance. These are vignettes of trance-like contortions, all soaked in a tight-held nostalgia.

The pedigree of production shocks no one. Broads have reliably been releasing off-pop polished soul glitch since we first reviewedA Small Box over a Global Goal’. Yes the shapes shift and keep doing so, and the tilt between human and other has flicked between Warp pop and electronica. But this is a no loose-thread album. Constructed with absolute precision.

On Par With Swings’ could be a soft techno throwback informed by the best Detroit principles; repetition and a messing of samples. ‘A River Going In’ glitters tight through its loops with each stack of staccato melodies and patterns creating a network of sound to get lost in. ‘Loop-Found Jazz on Aux‘ pins its constricted and neatly packed experimentation to hints of EDM and frantic-tap chill wave. It’s hard not to think of Boards Of Canada, Hexial, or the lush precise free form sounds of Layland Kirby, or even an AI improved Public Service Broadcasting. Just the fact that these disparate and very separate sonic templates all come to mind in one listen gives some hint to this album’s complexity.          

The frantic is never relentless. The quick slices are pop-sized and charming with interludes of soft sound release. I’d be pushed to find a single track on the album that wouldn’t outstay a twice as long edit. And that’s borne out by the cool ‘Deep Death Pyramid‘; a song so well-spaced and programmed through each progression and build that it owns all of its 6.5 minutes.

So go take in its depth, jerks and all. Settle in to its off kilter sweetness. These are tracks where busy heads head go to ruminate. Urgent thoughts running right alongside reflection.