This past Tuesday, The PDX Broadsides released their fourth studio album, Trust Issues. This is their first album produced with the help of a very successful Kickstarter campaign from this past Spring. (They made their $4,500 goal within the first 16 hours of the campaign, eventually ending up with $12,538.) Fans of the band showed their support in a big way for the crowd funded endeavour. The result is the strongest offering from the Broadsides to date.
Since my first introduction to the Broadsides, I’ve marveled at the evolution of their material. A couple of albums back, the band could’ve been easily described as a high energy filk trio. With Trust Issues, their songs continue to advance, taking on more challenging topics and themes. The addition of Jessica’s new keyboard (another benefit of the Kickstarter campaign) has really filled out their sound adding to the acoustic guitar and vocal harmonies wonderfully. The band has always made music that resonates, but the keys add the power that’s been missing.
For longtime fans of the Broadsides, the love of nerdy things is still quite evident. Hell, there’s a track that’s called Nerd Love Song. There’s no denying that this group is bunch of dyed-in-the-wool geeks with multiple tributes to some of their favourite fandoms. The first track on the album, The Weather, is a hauntingly beautiful tribute to the Welcome to Night Vale podcast. Dolores is an emotionally moving tune from the perspective of Dolores Abernathy of Westworld. There’s even a song inspired by the comic Bitch Planet (Noncompliant) that also works as an anthem for the current social and political climate.
Some of their songs also reach further. The title Trust Issues references the Broadsides addressing a number of their fears and their determination to overcome them. There is a good amount of exploration of themes of love, heartbreak, disillusionment and vulnerability. On top of this, there’s a few tracks that address certain problems among fandom, be it with the lack of female representation in the world of toys, apparel and merchandise for the latest superhero, sci-fi and fantasy properties (We Want Rey), or the need to identify oneself by a certain corner of fandom (Swing Both Ways).
One of the standout tracks on Trust Issues would have to be Rocket Science. A tribute to common sense, this song plainly states a number of things that one should do to live happy and healthy. You’d think that in this day and age, a song like this would not be needed. But sadly, that is not the case (see my earlier comment about the current social and political climate). Plus, the song has a jam break. Who doesn’t love a good jam break?
My two favourites off the album are I’ll Eat You Last and Robot vs. Boy. I’ll Eat You Last is a tongue-in-cheek love song(?) where the singer is reluctant to show her affections. She delivers backhanded compliments and clever quips to mask an obvious hesitation to be vulnerable. It’s funny and reminds me of a number of past relationships. Robot vs. Boy is the best example of the Broadsides’ musical evolution. It’s catchy rhythm and harmonies stays with you long after listening and gives off a Bowie-like vibe. I found myself going back to listen to it again and again.
If you’re a fan of The PDX Broadsides, you probably already plan on picking up Trust Issues. You will indeed be impressed. For those of you who have not yet heard The Broadsides, this is a great place to start. Smartly written, and beautifully executed, Trust Issues delivers both fun ditties and touching ballads in equal measure. Get your copy today. For more info on the album or their current west coast tour, check out their website: pdxbroadsides.com.
Enjoy your delicious moments.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!