Underrated indie pop band Half-Broken Taperecorders return with their latest full length, SILENT SUNRISE, and from the opening track you are instantly brought into it’s patient, brooding world. The band aren’t interested in hitting you straight in the face, but rather, building up the tension and picking the right time to strike… and it pays off wonderfully.
Guitar work is goddamn great and absolutely inspired. The solos here are never showy but definitely impressive. The keys never feel gimmicky, they just add a perfect, cute extra voice to the harmonies presented here. The magic lies in how well the band plays with speed, showing their absolute mastery of the mid-tempo. The band sound seasoned yet still fresh, and the control here is quite standout. When the band goes slow, its meditative, hypnotic and relaxing- when they hit the peaks of their song, they rock. And rock hard. It’s truly exciting and here, on SILENT SUNRISE, it’s more amazing than ever.
Vocals are perfect for the music surrounding it, both from the male (ex Seiko Oomori and the Pink Tokarev member Komori Kiyotaka) and female vocalist (Haruna Yusa, who has also recently released her debut solo effort). Neither are particularly strong but this works wonders for the duet style here, both members complimenting each other, rather than distracting or outshining- and adds to that truly indie feel that the band are so damn great at providing.
As for the track highlights, “Virgin Insanity” is delighfully catchy, with its ebbs and flows and memorable chorus, “idiot o clock” compellingly meanders without ever losing the listeners attention, “Silent” is a gorgeous mid-tempo ballad with some really neat instrumental work and great chorus, “MECHANICAL HEART” is one of the hardest hitters here and really resonates home and finale “rising sun” really rounds out the album nicely, with its breathtaking closing. However, choosing highlights is really not necessary, as this album truly has no duds to mention.
It all sounds warm and welcoming, production is purposely (and tastefully) loud, drums get distorted, guitar buzz is audible. It has so much youth energy running through it that it’s hard to believe that it’s a studio recording- as it is easy to imagine that you are at a private gig. It’s imperfections become what makes it so damn perfect to listen to. If they had gone back and tweaked or cleaned it up, it just wouldn’t be as amazing as it is.
Overall though, the album provides a delightful alternative choice to the usual, and some of the mightiest indie rock you’re gonna find anywhere. It’s raw, honest, heartfelt and ultimately an essential listen in 2016.
8.5/10– Half-Broken Taperecorders’ new album ought to be the next thing you look into if you like indie anything.