Gig Review by MINtSOUTH: Broken Links @ The Joiners, Southampton – 27th August 2009

“This is Broken Links biggest show to date. Headlining at The Joiners to an almost packed crowd of devoted fans and friends, they’ve even brought in a fantastic lighting rig especially for the occasion. However, whilst a good light show certainly adds to the occasion, they’ll never make a rubbish band sound good.

Thankfully for Broken Links, the lights serve their purpose fully and go some way to really making this young, new band come across as the awesome talent they so clearly are.

The slightly tinny sound of their demo is soon forgotten as the monstrous riffing, thunderous bass and clattering drums all collide to produce a rhythmic, pulsating sound-clash that gets my pulse racing. The smile on my face soon gets wider and wider. These guys sound immense! Capture this sound on record and they’ll do themselves a HUGE favour.

Lewis Betteridge and Phil Boulter are the bass player and drummer and they make an incredible rhythm section. No doubt, the able talents of Mike Breach working the Joiners mixing desk helps, but frankly, you can’t polish a turd. The sounds emanating from Betteridge’s bass are so huge they almost don’t need the P.A. and many drummers spend their whole lives just trying to get half this good.

Three pieces can often be let down by a lack of style and good choices from the guitar player, but thankfully, front man Mark Lawrence knows how to fill musical space superbly. A good use of choice effects and delays, without ever resorting to swamping the sound for the sake of it shows a sign of maturity too many younger bands lack. Unsigned bands shouldn’t be this professional. If they carry on this malarkey they might be in danger of getting a record deal!

If I had any criticisms to make of the band (and you know I do!), they still lack the killer vocal hooks that turn really good rock music into monster hits. Sure, they don’t have to drop creativity and individualism; they have worked hard to produce a sound, whilst reminiscent of bands like Muse, Therapy? etc, that is entirely their own. Nor do they need to start writing radio-friendly, twee choruses, but whilst I leave the gig blown away by everything else about the band, not one single song sticks in my head. When Broken Links start adding killer vocal lines (the vocalist is clearly capable of singing them) then they could well be unstoppable.

To see and hear what I’m raving about, see the band play live this month at the Joiners on the 23rd and the Soul Cellar on the 26th.”

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