Broadside is a five-piece pop punk band from Richmond, Virginia. They became a band in 2010 and saw a few line-up changes, released multiple EP’s and their first full-length Far From Home, and toured before signing to Victory Records in 2015. Old Bones is their second full-length and was released on Victory Records on May 19th, 2015.
One song into the album and I was mad at myself for not finding it sooner. I listen to a lot of pop punk and I had heard Broadside’s name, but I’d never checked them out until Old Bones. Vocalist Ollie Baxxter has an amazing range that really adds a lot to the band’s unique sound. With vocal chops that sometimes reminded me of Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carraba and The Maine’s John O’Callaghan, Ollie isn’t just yelling the lyrics over a lot of noise. His voice flows effortlessly between quiet moments shaky with emotion, riffs worthy of the best pop song, and heartfelt screams that will really punch you in the gut.
Lyrics and the meaning behind them are one of the most important things to me, so of course I had to listen to the commentary version of the album on Spotify. Ollie makes a comment that the whole album is centered around the idea, “I know now what I didn’t know then.” The album captures that feeling of being young and scared and in between. It’s such an honest record and relatable to anyone who grew up feeling a little like an outcast, but hopeful about life anyways.
I could go through every track and break down what I thought, but I’ll spare you and just mention a few that really stood out. Okay no I won’t, I’ll probably go through every track, but it’s my review so too bad. Old Bones covers things that fans might be going through like a parent leaving, the death of a friend, and (in “Human Machines”) feeling like you’re working your life away and living on autopilot. I could really relate to that one because sometimes I lose sight of my dreams and feel like I’m just working to eat and pay my bills and then sleeping and doing it all again the next day. I’m a SUCKER for group chants and the group chant in this song is genius. “We are all drowning in an ocean of greed. The rich will climb your shoulders just to breathe.”
“Playing in Traffic” is probably the heaviest song on the album. The instrumentals really get to shine. Drummer Andrew Dutton punches out an awesome beat during the breakdown and the guitar solo towards the end is great! I also really liked the unclean vocals on this song. It surprised me and I’d love to hear more of it. This would definitely be the pit song at a show.
“Storyteller” and “Come and Go” are so fucking catchy and they remind me of early 2000’s pop punk like Cartel and All Time Low. All I wanted to do was dance when I listened to these songs. And the line in “Storyteller,” “Well in my head my hands around your neck, but I’m still kissing you goodnight,” made me laugh. And “Come and Go” switches from soft and dancy verses to a hard and loud chorus and it does it so well.
“Coffee Talk” is my perfect definition of a relationship and the octave change at the end is gorgeous. Some of the best dates I’ve ever had were at 3 in the morning just talking at Waffle House and this song captures that simple, happy feeling perfectly.
On the commentary version, Ollie says that “The Simple Type” reminds him of his brother and it’s funny because it reminds me of my sister. The whole song is about living your life on your own terms and living on the edge of your seat no matter what anyone else says and that’s what she does. This song is the most clever lyrically with lines like, “You’re not focused on my climb, only promising my fall,” and “forcing pieces together, in the end you’ll see puzzled expressions on the faces of those who doubted me.”
“Damaged Kids” was my favorite song on the album. Every word echoed exactly how I feel. To me it was about being in your mid-twenties and being stuck between your friends who have given up and settled and your friends who are successful and doing things with their lives. Because you still feel like a kid and you still feel like you’re growing up because your dreams were always a little different than everyone else’s and you won’t stop chasing them. The best lyrics are “Don’t sink cause I know it’s tough. Saw it comin’ but you weren’t prepared enough. You wanna doubt you deserve to be loved, but keep your head up, I swear that you belong.” I love encouraging stuff like that. It helps more than the artist knows. When you’re alone and feeling shitty and listening to an album and they sing exactly what you need to hear, it’s magic.
The title track “Old Bones” is the perfect end to the record because it captures the overall feeling of nostalgia and hope perfectly. Don’t get me wrong, I know sad boy pop punk is really popular and I love it, but we need more of this. More upbeat songs that admit that yeah, life is hard, but you can pick yourself up and there’s hope and you can kick ass if you try. This album will make you want to jump around and crash through the drywall and you’re not gonna wallow in sadness when you listen to it. And I love that. 5 out of 5 stars for Broadside. This album is amazing.
You can pick up Old Bones here.