Back in May of 2015, I got the chance to check out Aim to Misbehave, an album that was just released by acoustic nerd trio, The PDX Broadsides. It was a light and fun journey through fandom with the right mix of references and heart. With songs that took a positive look at fandom while still addressing the problems that lay within the community, the album was smartly written and it’s execution was melodious. Fast forward to this August and the Broadsides have a new offering that once again takes a look at fandom but thankfully, not in the exact same way they did before. Their new album, Something’s Rotten drops today and is anything but as it delivers a number songs to entertain fans of various genres and tastes.
Presenting a folksy style with obvious pop sensibilities, the Broadsides’ latest album shows some growth since their last outing. There is an underlying strength and confidence throughout the tracks that makes each one stand on it’s own and not get lost in the shuffle. There’s also some thematic synergy as a number of the songs deal with love and longing but not in the ways you might think. Whether it’s the love of a fan who just can’t find the words to explain herself to the actor she adores (Catatonic), a couple going through tough times who are still trying to make their love work (Meant to Be), or a look at the fan pastime of “shipping” (I Ship It), the concepts of love and affection are explored from fresh angles.
The strongest and most traditional song dealing with love on the album would have to be Astronaut’s Hymn, a ballad from the perspective a space traveler who’s been sent on a mission and has to leave their love behind. While we’ve heard many a song about someone leaving, this song feels different as the idea of leaving the entire planet behind is also a factor. The hymn is sad and sweet and hopeful all at the same time and I found myself really moved by it, something I was not expecting when I sat down to listen to a nerd album. I’ve heard that Jessica Herbert of the band has trouble getting through all the lyrics when performing the song live without getting choked up, and I don’t blame her. The strength of the song lies in it’s simplicity as there is no distraction from the very real emotion on display. It’s hands down my favourite song on the album.
Something’s Rotten is not all about love as there’s also a number of satirical and silly songs peppered throughout the album as well. There are two tracks that pay homage to the melancholy dane with Hamlet’s Lament and Ophelia’s Retort. Any fan of Hamlet will enjoy these character pieces and even if you’ve never seen the play, the songs pretty much lay out everything you need to know. The Ultimate Riot pokes fun at the seriousness of fandom, telling the tale of a guest speaker at a convention who angers the masses when he mixes up his universes and shows off his lack of knowledge. The studio version of Nathan Fillion (Please Take Off Your Pants) is also included and needs no explanation as it’s all there in the title. Probably the most catchy song on the album would be Eureka, an anthem that celebrates scientific discovery and the scientists responsible for those discoveries.
While I have enjoy their previous work, The PDX Broadsides have really stepped up their game with Something’s Rotten. From the production, to the songwriting, to the harmonies, the band performs like a well oiled machine and you’ll find yourself falling in rhythm with ’em as you listen. This album release brings with it an anniversary for the band as it’s been 5 years since they first got together. Something’s Rotten is the perfect birthday present they can give to themselves and you can celebrate with them by picking up the album, either digitally or in physical form. Head on over to their website (pdxbroadsides.com) to find out all the places online the album is available. You should pick it up today as it’s Meant To Be.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!