Broadside // Paradise
Written by J.M
Paradise, the sophomore album from Richmond-based (now Los Angeles dwelling) band Broadside, is a fun summer pop-punk treat, with bright, upbeat tracks that are a perfect soundtrack for backyard bonfires after a long day of swimming and sunshine.
Broadside puts forward a musically mature album, with strong, distinctive vocals, a full guitar sound, and drum lines that drive the tempo and round out the cohesive melodies. While there could be a bit more melodic variety from track to track, there are interesting departures from the somewhat standard pop-punk formula.
These moments of evolution are particularly evident in tracks such as "Laps Around a Picture Frame," "Who Cares?" "Puzzle Pieces," and "I Love You, I Love You. It's Disgusting," which has a vague modern pop vibe.
Ollie Baxxter's passionate vocals — reminiscent of Cartel and Mayday Parade, but with added grit — automatically infuse the lyrics with a definitive ethos, making every song energizing and inspiring. The actual lyrics never take themselves too seriously, ranging from fun to encouraging to self-aware angst. "Who Cares?" combines all of these elements, with lines like: "I'm drowning in misery / sink or swim or somewhere in between / Drowning, sinking down / Head beneath the water, can you pull me out? / Or just leave me / I'm sure I'll learn to swim / Who cares?"
One of the best moments of straightforward encouragement and inspiration in the lyrics is found in "Puzzles Pieces," where Baxxter sings, "Like pieces to a puzzle / Your place is valued here / Speak your mind and show your worth / To make the image clear / We have passion and heart ... They can silence my voice/ Grip my throat and let my actions speak / I won't give in / Resist! Resist!" This clear message elevates the album from something purely entertaining to something meaningful and important.
Overall, Paradise is a solid album with more nuance than an initial listen might suggest with catchy, earnest lyrics packaged in a poppy, fun sound.
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