Broken Records return with their third album, Weights & Pulleys next Monday (19 May), but you can listen to the album in full right now on Q.
Plus the Edinburgh-based band’s Jamie Sutherland has written us a track-by-track guide to the record, which you can read below now.
Ditty (We Weren’t Ready)
This song started out as a solo electric number, just a simple ballad thing, but we jammed it through a couple of times in the practice room, and liked the feel of the double drums (Rory plays the second snare in it). It came together in the studio when Dave simplified his part to just the beautiful ringing Piano chords, and the final refrain was sort of improvised one night at the end of the session when a mic was left on. I had the rhythm of the line down, took it away to write the lyric, and it seemed the ideal way of starting the record.
This is otherwise known as “A tribute to Paul Westerburg”. I have been a fan of the replacements for as long as I can remember, and certainly alongside Tom Waits and Bukowski, remain a bulwark in my sort of psychic geography of the last two records. I wish I could play the booze addled barfly properly. Unfortunately I get sloppy and fat, not charismatic and interesting.
This song was written prior to the last record, Let Me Come Home, and for some inexplicable reason I managed to find a way of not playing it to the guys. When it came to running through demo’s I had written for the new record, this was a stone cold fit, and indeed became the lead track on the Toska EP. No relation to the opera, more the fascination of a word that has no direct translation into English, and yet sums up the Scottish psyche perfectly. It means a kind of beautiful, joyous misery. For anyone who supports the Scottish national rugby and football teams.
So Long, So Late
The last song to be written for the record. I was sitting at home the day before my 30th birthday, having a small crises and listening to a lot of Wolf Parade, when I got inspired and started mucking around with the riff. Ten minutes later a friend invited me out to the pub, thus stopping me thinking too much about it and mucking it up, and the song has remained the same as the original demo, complete with casual referencing of Cuyahoga as the sleeve of Lifes Rich Pageant was lying next to me at the time.
Weights & Pulleys
This record was born out of a lot of growing up for the band. A few of us had kids, Ian’s mum sadly died, my best friend was in a bad car accident and nearly died and Rory and My niece went into intensive care shortly after she was born for two weeks. We were recording this song at the time my niece was in hospital, and I was trying to find a way of getting things off my chest, and after a bit of a drink and 20 drafts later, I stumbled on the lyrics as they are now. I was surprised at how much they sounded like how I felt without making too much linear sense in themselves. A happy (boozy) accident!
Let’s Call It A Betrayal
This was our attempt at writing something basic. Rory and I jammed this out, he on drums and me on guitar, and we had a very stripped back Dodo’s meets TV on the Radio thing going on. We brought it to the rest of the band and it just took off.
A little something that Rory [Sutherland] embellished off of a very simple piano riff of mine. We wanted to break the record up at this stage, and this just sort of came out of nowhere for us.
See You In A Little While
This song was our attempt to write something with a chorus. Kas our sound engineer is always telling us we need more sing along tunes, and what’s more sing along than a tale of disappointment and infidelity. Craig and Garry, our engineer, used a liberal sprinkling of Space Echo on Ian’s guitar to give it a shimmery quality, and Andy’s drums at the end are one of my favourite things he’s done.
Another lyric that came to me while my niece was sick. An ode to staying positive. Tony Doogan mixed the song so that the whole half of the song was in mono, and when the guitars finally open out, it spreads on to both speakers in stereo. One of my favourite songs we have ever done. The brass at the end gives me both a lump in the throat and itchy feet.
I Won’t Leave You In The Dark
My attempt to write a Roy Orbison/Walker Bros/Everly Bros type song. I wanted to write something that was typically teenage, melodramatic, but had a real pop sensibility. The Sax solo is a fairly blatant nod towards a certain former member of the E-Street Band, and initially we just let Zach blast away at the end of the session for a giggle. He recorded this in a take, and we left it in for Tony to mix, not thinking he would use it. He loved it, convinced us to keep it in the mix, and is a song that just makes me happy.
All Else Can Just Wait
This was based around a very simple guitar riff, and a loop that Rory managed to put together with his violin. The drums took a while to get right, and the idea was to have something very soft and healing at the end of the record. Some kind of resolution. The massed vocals at the end were inspired by Panda Bear and Spiritualised, and was one of the first times we have really tried singing together. Definitely something we will be doing again! This song is an out and out love song, a rejection of all the things you thought you wanted for the simple pleasures of growing old with someone.
For more head to Brokenrecordsband.com.