REVIEW: Broken Records at Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen

Could this be it? The Broken Records boys must have been asking themselves this for a good couple of years.

Could this be it? The Broken Records boys must have been asking themselves this for a good couple of years.

But this time it’s certainly looking promising.

The Edinburgh-based folk-indie band - by now surely sick of being dubbed the next big thing - returned from three months in the US to give London a sneaky peak into their second studio album this week.

The show at Hoxton Bar & Kitchen saw seven become six for the first time as the multi-talented troupe performed tracks that put them on the cusp in 2008, as well as tit bits from upcoming ‘Let Me Go Home’, released October 25, ahead of their UK tour.

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Brothers Jamie and Rory Sutherland seem positive – as much as possible while retaining their bearded gruffness.

Forthcoming single, A Darkness Rises Up has just made it onto the BBC 6 Music playlist, and frontman Jamie drawls – his hair lank and shirt sweaty – that another new song will be their “big hit”.

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Great expectations aside, if Broken Records are going to get where they want to be, it will be based on hard work alone.

Music is a serious thing for them and this comes across on both record and stage - in tracks such as the tremblingly beautiful Wolves and pounding frenzy If the News Makes You Sad, Don’t Watch It. Creative anti-pop time signatures, layered arrangements and swelling contrasts in volume make the songs something to sink your teeth into.

Playing to London audiences, however, is not the same as playing back home in Scotland where the rapturous crowds are full of familiar faces. But the band soon wins this lot over with infectious aggression and melancholy.

At the end, Jamie is dragged back from a fag break for an unexpected encore to perform A Promise - his voice and Rory’s fiddle slicing through the silence in the room. And with the final song, the night is theirs.

Broken Records next return to the capital on November 9 after adding The Borderline in Soho to their UK tour schedule. In the meantime, no more predictions – let us just let them get on with it.

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