Broadcaster - A Million Hours (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


A Million Hours (2013)

Jump Start Records

Anticipation erects unfair hurdles for any work of art. When a person becomes emotionally invested in that art, it is easy to set expectations so high that a follow-up can not possibly meet them. Broadcaster's first album Welcome to the Wetlands is something that I find intimately relatable, both musically and lyrically. It encapsulates my early 20s, the heartache and insecurity and has found itself a permanent place as a desert island album. Since then, Broadcaster has treated the world with two solid EPs that did nothing but build my personal desire for their next album. And that brings us to A Million Hours.

A Million Hours opens with "The Current," with a great hook that pulls you into an album that should be heard. Jesse Litwa begs you to drown in this album and that's the way it is best absorbed. The magic of Broadcaster is the space between the hooks. "Tomorrow," the lead single used to promote the album, is drenched with the nostalgia that earlier releases were known for but it promises a look toward tomorrow. That look is realized here.

As the listener spends more time with A Million Hours lyrical gems are unearthed and new layers surface. "She can't stand to watch another local shop shut down because they've raised the rent," from the song "Show Me Something New" is the kind of working class connection that is missing from a lot of pop music. There is an honesty, a sincerity that bleeds through every word and note. "I hate talking about myself," from the song "Ribbons" might seem odd given how much personal detail is shared on this album, but it is obvious that Litwa uses the music as an outlet.

Masterful producer J. Robbins has taken fairly straightforward rock songs and imbued them with subtle touches that allow A Million Hours to rise above generic pop radio rock that could lazily be attributed to the band. It is easy to lump bands into categories and then dismiss them, and calling Broadcaster "'90s revival" is fair but negligent of what is happening here. They have taken a lot of what made the radio so special in that era and made it fresh again. Imagine if the Rentals, Fountains of Wayne and their ilk had become the driving force of mainstream rock music instead of third rate Bush clones and bands who make Korn seem not so bad.

Ultimately, the album is crushed under my personal expectations. And that's not fair to the band. Every single song on this album should be a hit. A Million Hours has something that should appeal to fans of rock music in general. It is a grower, but one with a big payoff.