BISHOP ALLEN – The Broken String

Dead Oceans

Blog darlings capitalize on a busy year with a winsome pop nugget. In 2006 Brooklyn band Bishop Allen accomplished the impossible. By self-producing and independently releasing an EP every month they managed to remain relevant for a full year in the MP3 blog community which treats fickleness as a religion. This feat was successful enough to garner the band a new record label and a fan base eager to hear what they can pull off with a bigger budget and a longer gestation period. What Bishop Allen came up with is The Broken String a charming indie-pop album that recalls the finer moments of ’60s and ’70s AM radio with a little Spanish flair thrown in for good measure. Unsurprisingly the majority of The Broken String is culled from the year-long EP project but the songs have been refitted with new layers allowing them to rise above the trappings of pleasant but innocuous pop. While the album is full of gorgeous melodies and catchy hooks it’s the woodwinds jauntily accentuating a deserted birthday party on “The News from your Bed” the trumpet capturing the loneliness of travelling on “The Chinatown Bus” and the ominous drums finally exploding on “Flight 180” that make The Broken String a rewarding listen. Bishop Allen do make a few missteps on the album; “Click Click Click Click” is too precious for its own good while “Middle Management” is an unnecessary stab at power-pop. Fortunately these occasional blemishes don’t detract too much from an otherwise immaculately crafted pop gem that should with any luck garner Bishop Allen an audience other than fickle bloggers.