Broken Family Band - You're Like A Woman

Dan Round 04/10/2006

Rating: 4/5

In the country rock opening of You're Like A Woman, Broken Family Band singer Steven Adams sounds almost desolate. Whining pessimistically that “you didn't ask about my job”, “where I've been” or even his “ex-girlfriend”. Then, 35 seconds in, the acoustics turn into stabby electrics and Adam's tone changes dramatically. “Now she's with a policeman, and that makes her happy, and that makes me happy” he belts before the song steps up again with the band explosively breaking in. Its racy stuff; Country rock? More like post-punk.

The song contains a deep, ongoing wit and later in the song Adam's only worry is that “you ain't got any cigarettes”. Cynical? Miserable? More like up-beat optimism and light-hearted humour. Track 2, Gavin's Dead is a rumbling, less jump'n'shout kind of song, but that doesn't make it any less of a cracker. Featuring snarling vocals reminiscent of Frank Black and traditional country backing harmonies with a trumpet solo not only keeps interest, but shows how versatile the band really is.

The closing Poor Little Thing however, is pure Americana-country. If the previous two songs defy the hoedown, simplistic label they've acquired, this makes you re-think about their styling. With basic, minimalist drumming, harmonicas, gentle banjos, female backing and of course, Adam's tender vocals and strumming guitar, it is a beautifully affecting song, in the Jay Farrar mould. Over the tearful acoustics Adams gracefully croons “poor little thing you're such a cliché”. Broken Family Band certainly aren't that; what they are is an innovative, ever-changing country ensemble, and this is a perfect slice of the growing Americana movement. You're Like A Woman showcases why they are so magnificent.