Finally… Let’s just say that the two years since the release of Broadway Calls’ self-titled album have been long, but definitely worth it. You see, no matter how old and jaded I get (and, kids, it happens to the best of us) I’ll always be a sucker for great pop punk like this even though nothing else really impresses me much. It’s those exact feelings that made this record one my most anticipated releases of 2009.
So with their sophomore album, Good Views, Bad News, Portland’s Broadway Calls have done what I didn’t think was possible and made a record that’s even better than their first. Opening with “Midnight Hour,” the band comes out of the gates quickly. With vocalist Ty Vaughn singing lines like “I don’t have that passion / just an ego and moderate talent / please understand I know nothing of being a great man,” Broadway Calls show they’re great both musically and lyrically and still humble. “Be All That You Can’t Be” might be the catchiest song on the album and also it’s most overtly political, plus the key change for the outro gives me goosebumps.
On “Election Night,” the band coveys the palpable energy that was everywhere and the hope that hung in the air as we all waited anxiously for the 44th president of the United States to claim victory. Lesser bands would have made this song sound clichéd. “Basement Royalty” is a big-time sing along song that reminds us all a few good “woah oh’s” can do a body good. It is also the point on Good Views, Bad News where I realized this was a tighter and more focused Broadway Calls. A band that (as perfectly evidenced by songs like “To The Sheets” and “Give Up The Ghost”) has eliminated every ounce of filler from these 3 minute pop-punk gems. Oh yeah, either of those songs might also be the best song on the album. Depends on your mood.
When I wrote about Broadway Calls’ first album I said “the first half of the album is nearly flawless and starts off so strong that it would be almost impossible for any band to keep that up.” It’s when “Sundowners” and it’s melodic guitar leads and “woah oh’s” comes on that I realize that even halfway into Good Views, Bad News, there are no signs of slowing. “Tonight Is Alive” begins with Josh Baird’s pounding drums and goes into one of the album’s catchiest and most anthemic refrains. Have I mentioned that bassist Matt Koenig sings a bunch on the album as well? He does and it’s also great; a little rougher-edged than Ty but perfectly complimentary for harmonies.
“Best Year” throws in a little bit of a Western feel and is the first real change of pace on the record but not so different it feels out of place, “Wake Up Call” is as good as the rest of the record, and, just to show they can, the band slows things down on the closer “At The End,” and serves as a great transition into the rest of your life without this record as your soundtrack, but that will only (most likely) happen after a few dozen listens.
If there is any justice in the world Broadway Calls will enjoy the same sort of success that their (now) label mates The Gaslight Anthem have been getting lately because in my estimation Good Views, Bad News is the easily one of the best albums of 2009. One listen and I know you’ll be hooked too.
MP3 | Broadway Calls – Be All That You Can’t Be Good Views, Bad News