BROKEN ARROWS – Streetflowers

January 01, 1970

Intelligent Design Records

https://brokenarrows1.bandcamp.com/album/streetflowers

BY DANNY R. PHILLIPS

Music, of late, makes me sad.  Turning on the radio is a game of Russian roulette with five chambers out of six holding a bullet.  Pseudo-soul, re-hashed 1980s synth garbage, ham-fisted knuckle dragger butt rock and over produced rap tracks about shaking ass and making money pass for music.  Yes, I sound like an old man but the years I’ve spent sifting through the mountain of crap to uncover gems has left me somewhat jaded and cold.  Where many bands are content releasing tracks with endless over-dubs of inane lyrics and unimaginative licks of scant guitar tracks, Kansas City’s own Broken Arrows, a group of seasoned players, unloading their musical knowledge of all things power pop and classic garage, go deeper, farther into the past, using the great wave of garage rock of the ‘60s and ‘70s as touchstones and thank god they do.

Streetflowers, the latest from Broken Arrows, is an album packed with the minimalist approach of bands like The Sonics and The Trashmen crossed up with the psychedelic jump of the great Roky Erickson and the 13 Floor Elevators, intermingled with bands like Teenage Fanclub, Big Star (a strong influence throughout) and the power pop goodness of Matthew Sweet, alongside lesser known acts like The Exploding Hearts, The Electric Prunes, the always great Seeds and The Castaways.

While most acts seem content churning out half-baked thoughts and thrown together, unimaginative, inane workings that pass for singles, Broken Arrows approach Streetflowers as a whole, to be listened to as a completed work, to be listened to in its entirety, its song sequencing calling to be heard in order, the type of album that screams at the listeners to put on headphones, light a joint and soak it all in.

Within the opening chords of “Not Coming Back”, Broken Arrows show that they aren’t perfect and aren’t trying to be; an act somewhat unwilling to be polished by studio magicians (no Pro-Tools here.  Again, thank the God of your choice for that), standing up for how they want their music cast into the world.;

Broken Arrows, above all else are a band of friends, like minded individuals on the same musical page, the same frequency.  This is shown above else by the tracks “Behind the Eight Ball” and the heavy Big Star or Paul Westerberg influences weaving in and out of Streetflowers, directing an album of songwriting that is both complex while speaking to the simplicity and fragility of life.

John Chevalier, Barry Lee, Mike Penner, Bill Ryan and Dave Storms should be proud of what they’ve created with Streetflowers; an album not of songs but a whole thought.  It has a rough beauty, a drive, a joy that is oftentimes  missing in music today.  Broken Arrows are not overly polished musicians; passion and drive replace technical prowess, “perfection” and virtuoso coldness; each song has a place, building to the next.  Is it perfect? No… is that ok? Absolutely.  Broken Arrows’ Streetflowers, at its heart, is a garage rock record standing tall in a time of Disco.

 

 

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