Ok, so it’s pretty obvious that Broadside are aiming for mega-stardom and their brand of radio-friendly pop-punk certainly puts them in with a shout. But the alternative tag is being used more than a little loosely here, there’s definitely way more in common with pop than punk, and with All Time Low producer Kyle Black at the helm, their sound is more in tune with Jonas Brothers than they’d probably care to admit.
Despite having an obvious appeal for the teen pop market, it has to be said that what they do is stylishly executed and they are pretty damn good at it. From the word go, the irritatingly catchy ‘Hidden Colors’ nails a classic pop arrangement that is very easy on the ear, while ‘Paradise’ follows in similarly infectious style – there’s even a clappy part. Essentially they do quality pop music with a bit of guitar and some gnarly vocals – the kids are gonna love it.
Most of the tracks have some sort of empowerment and positivity going on, which works well on the spirited ‘Puzzle Pieces’, the bright and breezy ‘Who Cares’ and ‘Disconnect’, which is a little rougher at the edges, yet still possesses a mean hook. However, the acoustic “I’m on the edge” vibe of ‘Summer Stained’ is just a collection of clichés designed to resonate with your angst-filled teen looking for validation. Ok, it makes a good point and the band’s engagement is admirable, but it’s just a touch too much.
Nevertheless, they get the tone right on ‘Laps Around a Picture Frame’, sung by guitarist Dorian Cooke, and this serious slice of dark pop is a bona fide tune that really shows what they can do. Another high point is the hard rock tilt to ‘Tunnel Vision’, which has a bit more axe and makes for a quality track.
So, all told ‘Paradise’ is a slickly made record that is sure to conquer a massive section of the teenage market and will be particularly popular among the disaffected as they play a strong female empowerment card. If you turn it up loud enough you could probably kid yourself it’s punk – file under guilty pleasures.
‘Paradise’ by Broadside is out now on Victory Records
Words by Edward Layland (@EdwardLayland)