There comes a time in all of our lives when we confront the deep-rooted anxieties that we suppress out of fear that we really are the monster that our brains tell us we must be. On their latest LP, Some Nerve, Broken Beak frontman Beau Brynes tackles such subjects with an admirable poetic prowess, mixing narrative storytelling with subterranean personal introspection.
The Philly-based, emo, indie-rock group began as Brynes recording acoustic demo’s and releasing them on Bandcamp. Somehow these recordings found their way to Modern baseball frontman Jake Ewald, who asked if Brynes would like to record something, what would ultimately be Broken Beaks first album Old Evil, which when listened to now, feels like the logical predecessor to Some Nerve. The band, which at the time wasn’t a full band, consisting primarily of Brynes was finding it’s footing, looking for new members, alongside longtime friend and drummer Jeff Malt, to give their sound an electric upgrade. The seeds were all ever present, however. The intimate, thought-provoking lyrics, the heavy material, the acoustic backdrop with its palatable rhythm.
Enter Brendan Lukens (Best known for being one of the frontmen of Modern Baseball is presently a former member of Broken Beak) and Evan Moorehead, who joined the band after overhearing a conversation between Brynes and Malt at a party. This brings us up to 2016’s July-released Some Nerve, a ten-track, capsule of carefully calculated thoughts, emotions and questions such as “Is this bliss/Am I full of doubt/Torture is vivid/I am figured out?”
I’m not going to pretend to understand everything that Brynes is talking about, but it’s the process of dissection that is exactly what makes this band so exciting for someone like myself. It’s one thing when an artist has very straight forward, yet profound poetic ability. It’s also one thing when an artist has purposely touting obtuse lyrics for the sake of sounding weighty. Then there is Broken Beak’s Beau Brynes who mixes a near-perfect amount of mystery within the emotional narratives and vivid imagery. “Now I demand you end this/I am on my way to become a machine/I will rust /I can feel your face masking over me/I can’t help but let it happen.” This comes from the song ‘Metal’, a track that can be, like all good art and every song in Broken Beak’s discography, interpreted in many different ways, which is wholly a testament to Brynes’ talent as a poet and musician.
Some Nerve is an excellent exercise in songwriting, collaboration, and is a must-listen for any fans of the “emo revivalist” genre. The band takes noticeable influence from the likes of Weatherbox, which is another great plus. Their provocative, wordy, emotional message is punctuated by the punchy guitar riffs and infectious head-bob-inducing drums.
I had the fortunate pleasure of meeting and speaking to Beau Brynes after an acoustic set he played at ‘Our Lady of Perpetual Hope’, a small house venue on Long Island and its should also be noted the level of sincerity that may be lost on many audiences of musicians doing what they love. Brynes and drummer Jeff Malt were truly respectful, open and genuine people who look as though they couldn’t imagine doing anything else with their lives, and here’s to hoping they continue making some remarkable art.
Help support Broken Beak by giving them a listen and sharing them with your friends and when you’ve done that, come let us know what you think!
Their album Some Nerve is available from Near Mint at http://www.wearenearmint.com/