Penny Broadhurst - Blue Bank

Bill Cummings 01/05/2005

Rating: 3/5

Twenty-something Penny Broadhurst is no ordinary beat poet. On her debut spoken word/musical accompanied album, she ties dry working class satire to a collection of beats, biting witty statements and a fiercely independent set of rhymes, she almost justifies her claim to being “Victoria Wood meets The Streets.”

Opening with '8 Mile' inspired by the Eminem movie: Broadhurst spits out her disdain at poets who think that poetry being elitist is a good thing. Biting Rhymes like “I have no power if I only speak to the Guardian….I wanna inspire/Start Fires/Warm hearts/I wanna speak to the people and I wanna kick arse!” are backed by stuttering beats and electro splurges: its an impressive start. Elsewhere 'Music One' is a visceral physical description of the feeling that live music gives Penny, and humour and manic word play are mixed to good effect. Elsewhere 'Hands' is a stark love poetic monologue and 'New Mills' is a biting attack on deadened call centre lifestyle: sample line “If you don't like it you can go somewhere else/British Gas /First Direct/Same shit different bells.”

' Bus Park ' is a witty take on chavs and Bus Park gangs who I suggest might have criticised Penny as a youth. Penny steps out of herself here with her use of role play and the differences in her tone adding an extra dimension to this track.

'Dirty Pop' is a cousin of Morrissey's “The World is full of 'Crashing Bores', ripping into the superficiality of much of celebrity and Pop “Its so easy to knock out the verse/So why do Popstars lyrics get worse…Its just the same with poetry I want to make the final three/There's so much out there I could categorise/If that's dismissive then I apologise/But I believe that I've something new so come on Simon Cowell we've got work to do.”

'Crosshatch' is a moving attempt to tackle her mild disabilities, whilst the final track is the culmination of the album on a bed of beats, samples and guitars. 'Rhythm Rebel' might at first sound like the Streets-lite but as it grows it emerges as an honest, powerful set of rhyming. 'Self Affirmation' is mixed with justification of why Broadhurst is a poet “Three chords and the truth aren't enough to cut it/No ifs and buts its open your mouth time/Put your heart on the line time/Give it all that you've got!…I know who I am now/but its not enough somehow to paper the cracks make good my act/Make people like me if I'm so spiky”

Overall a good album, the musical accompaniment ranges from apt to light, however the rhyming is powerful and honest, with each track offering a witty snatch of northern working class life: well worth investigation.