Broken Records, 'Until the Earth Begins to Part' (4AD)

Critical Mass
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by Jon Young

This Scottish seven-piece pump out audaciously grandiose anthems and bleeding-heart ballads with a fervor that makes U2 seem shy.Such an over-the-top approach could end in solemn self-parody. But Broken Records' refreshing playfulness and surprisingly light touch indicate they're really enjoying themselves -- especially singer Jamie Sutherland, whose outbursts are enhanced by touches of cello, trumpet, and piano. Even when he's proclaiming the end of the world over an explosion of fiddle and martial drums on "Wolves," the lad is more party dude than doomy oracle.

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