The Brokedowns - Life Is A Breeze (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Brokedowns

Life Is A Breeze (2014)

Red Scare Industries

To describe The Brokedowns as just another Midwestern pop-punk band would be to sell the Elgin, Illinois four-piece extremely short. Yes, they’re from the Midwest, and yes, there are more than enough hooks and sing-along choruses to check all of the pop-punk boxes, but there’s so much more too, from impassioned shouts to clever, pointed lyrics, and it’s all deftly assembled on Life Is A Breeze. The record shows a band that, after a period of evolution, has figured out a sound all its own, and is now making the most of it.

If you’re familiar with the band’s past output, then you’re already aware that after starting out with a heavier sound on early records, The Brokedowns infused much more melody, to great effect, on their previous full-length, 2010’s Species Bender, and on a number of subsequent split 7-inches. On Life Is A Breeze, the band sticks with that sound and seems quite comfortable doing so.

The record kicks off with “Joliet, the Maui of the Midwest,” which serves as a sort of a tourism jingle for the band’s home region. It lays an effective foundation before the record launches into a series of standout tracks. “The Gospel of Mustafa,” “Life Is A Breeze,” “Murder Junkie/CPA” and “Everything is Immoral” are all as good, if not better, than anything on Species Bender, and “Murder Junkie/CPA” specifically hearkens back to that record with its similarity to “Loyal Looper (Theme From Renegade),” which is no bad thing. Unfortunately, there’s little time to come up for air, as the next handful of tracks, starting with “Born on the Bayou Too,” are just as strong. In fact, the quality stays high all the way through to the closer, “A Child’s Guide to Black Metal.”

As a whole, Life Is A Breeze is an extremely satisfying follow-up to Species Bender, taking everything that was great about that record and building on it. The one shame is that, coming so late in the year, Life Is A Breeze is likely to miss out on a spot on many year-end lists. It’s certainly an honor lost, though I’m not so sure The Brokedowns care about that sort of thing.