Let me get my disappointment out of the way. The band known as the French Broads contains no actual French broads. It’s just a personal thing, because I really like French women. After a two-year silence and refusal to cave to political pressure by changing their name to The “Freedom” Broads, the band has released a new album titled Better Wings, Better Happiness.
The song “Driver” begins the album and is my least favorite for several reasons. First, it contains all of the hallmarks of power-pop, which I, as a matter of personal taste, hate. The song is built on a simple beat, with gritty and simple guitar chords, otherwise known as “punchy” or “crunchy.” The song also appears to be about the many dickheads you find on the road these days. Now, I think we all share this irritation, but does it really deserve to have a song written about it? Aren’t there other injustices in the world more deserving of a song? What about the trend of douche bags walking around with the collar of their polo shirt flipped up? We need to stop this before it becomes an epidemic.
We proceed on to the good. The next song on the album, “Slip,” pays homage to Nick Drake. Here the Broads ditch the gritty power chords for a much more acoustic folk sound. Actually, this song sounds like The Grateful Dead could have put it out, circa the American Beauty album. A well-harmonized chorus backs up the soft Jerry Garcia style of singing. The end-result is a song that you can’t help singing along to with a smile on your face.
The sound and pace of the album remains muted for the next several songs including “Siren and Trip.” The latter song being about an acquaintance of John’s who committed suicide. The song “America Police,” which is about overzealous patriotism, follows this. This is certainly a subject matter I can get behind, but the song seems to only focus on the people driving around with flags pasted all over their cars. I am beginning to think that the Broads wrote a lot of this album in the car.
Better Wings, Better Happiness isn’t a bad album per say. The main problem is that it is completely forgettable. I liked “Slip,” but that is hardly a reason for the album to make an appearance on my permanent play-list. Alas, I think it will find its way to my stack of CD’s that time forgot, right on top of Tim Lee and that other dude whose name escapes me.
Ian Nelson owns and operates the swanky vintage clothing store Rare Bird with his brother Tristram. Rare Bird is located on 13th Street between Marion and Downing, a few doors away from Gabor’s. How convenient. Their number is 303.830.0216 and their open late on Friday’s and Saturday’s. How convenient. Can we say, a vintage rock concert t-shirt and vodka tonic?