Broken Radio - It's Only Fool's Gold
Germany may be known for engineering and its electronic music scene but barely for alternative country music. But wait! Give a listen to Broken Radio, a band from the Munich area that has been committed to that genre for years. "The future of country music" as an Australian blog recently raved about Broken Radio's 2010 download-only release "High Fidelity".
Broken Radio is a project by Klaus Patzak, a pioneer of alt-country and folk on Germany’s influential Hausmusik label (see also below). He has been a steady contributor to the label’s catalog over the years. Now Hausmusik proudly announces the release of "It's Only Fool's Gold", the new album by Broken Radio, available as CD and download.
A heavy dose of pedal steel, reverby guitars and Hammond organ, occasional string arrangements and and loads of electronic effects are the basic ingredients that make up Broken Radio’s complex and eclectic sound. Patzak plays all the instruments and all the computers, which he considers to be instruments by themselves. Samples, loops and all sorts of sounds are processed into distinct and sometimes unconventional arrangements.
His songwriting is deeply influenced by American songwriters from the 60s until today. The eleven originals on “It's Only Fool's Gold” are rounded up by a cover of "El Dorado" - a tribute to Patzak’s late friend, Texan singer-songwriter Whitey Ray Huitt. This wonderful tune would make the perfect soundtrack for a road trip from the Bavarian Alps down to the Mexican border.
But it’s hard to highlight individual songs of the album. From the first track on the listener dives deeper and deeper into the varied soundscapes of Broken Radio. "Wall of country sound" you might say, great widescreen cinema - not just in "Western Movies". "Darling You Killed Me (For The Rest Of My Life)" is a 60s style country song, reminiscent of old Patsy Cline tunes. "Lost In The Sands Of Time" is a haunting blues that comes with all sorts of electronic gadgetry and fat, in your face guitar. The catchy chorus of "The Place That I Call Home" with its brass arrangements will keep sticking in your head. So does “Lay Your Guns Down”, a groovy song about longtime relationships - maybe the most uncommon track of the album.
The last song "Redemption Train" is a sensitive salute to Patzak’s late friend and band mate Thomas Ganshorn. It is not the show-down finale as one might expect, but a quiet farewell. Broken Radio strikes the right chord again.