“Opening with an ominous chord that is soon joined by a equally ominous drum and then a violently strummed electric guitar, things get off to an interesting start on Within Isolation. Then the song actually starts and it’s kind of sub-Muse indie-rock. Whilst the following track The Best Laid Schemes of Mice and Men begins like classic late-80s U2 before going a bit Pop-era U2 and both of these jostling with The Music, whilst there’s a glumness to the lead-singer Mark Lawrence’s vocal that has a distinct whiff of 1980s New Romantic non-chalance. Whether this is a good thing I’m not sure, but it’s interesting at least.
Things become suitably grimy for Colditz though the Mark Lawrence now seems to be doing a blatant impression of either Nick Cave or Pete Burns from 80′s New Wavers Dead or Alive. It actually takes rather a lot away from the song in its distraction, unless of course the verses are being sung by an uncredited Cave. Last track The Sea Inside sees another change of course with scratchy, ragged production and Lawrence howling the lyrics desperately, it’s kind of like a rare uncovered B-Side from some tragic artist, but obviously doesn’t come with that cache to elevate it into instant poignancy and while it manages to be the most original thing on here, it’s not particularly astounding.
The problem with Southampton 3-piece Broken Links is that influences – intentional or otherwise – invade their work to the extent that they are eclipsing it and it becomes hard to really look at the band on their own merits. That they can quickly bring it mind these successful acts shows that they have a certain talent, at least, but until they can hone a more individual sound they may be left under the shadow.”
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