The Minimalist Frequency
Sometimes too much technology simply gets in the way of a good idea. With the album Tender Buttons, the high tech, avant-garde pop group, Broadcast, has transformed into a low-tech electro-pop duo with much more pleasing results.Now recording as a duo, Broadcast is more focused on writing a simple pop-song than building songs around interesting sounds. True, the album is filled with compelling and conceptual noises like those of the war-themed â€šÃ„ÃºAmericaâ€šÃ„Ã´s Boy.â€šÃ„Ã¹ The combat effects, static groove, and Casio beat provide a simple, yet hypnotizing backdrop for Trish Keenanâ€šÃ„Ã´s deadpan, angelic voice. Songs like â€šÃ„ÃºBlack Cat,â€šÃ„Ã¹ and the single â€šÃ„ÃºMichael Agrammerâ€šÃ„Ã¹ achieve success through the same minimalist approach. The latter is by all means a classic pop song, robotic yet bouncy, with ultra-catchy hooks and saucy lyrics like â€šÃ„ÃºMichaelâ€šÃ„Â¶Michael, Michael/Come on, your father was a dirty boy.â€šÃ„Ã¹ â€šÃ„ÃºGoodbye Girlsâ€šÃ„Ã¹ is another stand-out track, with its loopy keyboards and lyrical references to prostitution. Ghostly harmonies swirl in the mix as the song ends with the refrain â€šÃ„ÃºLove you all night.â€šÃ„Ã¹
Broadcast has made an interesting decision to limit their palette of instruments. The music sounds as though it was created with broken keyboards and old radio transistors. There is beauty amidst the decay and Keenanâ€šÃ„Ã´s other worldly voice helps to enhance it. The majority of the tracks here are loopy, irresistible pop songs that have a layer or two of weirdness or a delightfully ragged edge. It seems as though the duo have come full circle by combining the warmth and fun of their first album with the dissonance of their later albums.