Broadcast - HaHa Sound

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2003-08-11

Birmingham-based-trio Broadcast (Trish Keenan, James Cargill and Tim Felton) have carved a nice little niche with their intriguing brand of pop music. HaHa Sound is the band's second album and it steadfastly continues their mission to walk the tightrope between wilfully obscure experimental sounds and melodious, accessible pop, fusing obscure cinematic influences with the kind of sounds others would try and lose--analogue synths, grainy feedback, scratchy electronica, etc. Via these ensnaring soundscapes, the band veer mellifluously from the fairy-tale escapism of "Ominous Cloud" to rhythmically pulsing material like "Pendulum" (which sounds like Kraftwerk colliding with their fellow Teutonic innovators Can), via a host of carnivalesque atmospheres and hall-of-mirrors style contours. There's a spot of darkness and contrivance to prevent us getting too comfortable, but Broadcast still make us feel as if we're looking at our own world like aliens peering through a sonic goldfish bowl, with everything seeming familiar but surreally warped and alluringly weightless. With Keegan's glacially delivered vocals providing the pure-white icing on the crazy cake, Ha Ha Sound is a consistently beguiling album--and is certainly no laughing matter. --Paul Sullivan

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