With too many bands in Southampton all too willing to pigeonhole themselves in the safe confines of indie guitar world and limit themselves to smaller venues in the name of credibility, it is delightfully refreshing to hear the ambition of Eastleigh’s 3 piece alternative rock kings Broken Links. “We’re looking to tour Europe early next year,” states Mark Lawrence, the band’s immensely likeable singer, songwriter and guitar player. “Alternative rock is bigger in Europe. The likes of Placebo and Muse – the type of acts we look up to – are massive in countries like France and Germany. We would love to go over there, play live and build ourselves a fanbase.”
They have the tunes to match the ambition too. Their debut EP – the fabulously titled “Resisting Movement And The Almost Advisory” – is essential listening. The rifferama of “Within Isolation” is a dark and menacing masterpiece whilst being strangely uplifting at the same time, “The Best Laid Schemes Of Mice & Men” is anthemic to say the least and “The Sea Inside” is possibly the creepiest and eeriest track you’ll hear anywhere whilst retaining a mesmerising sense of loveliness. However the band’s rapidly increasing fanbase do not share that view on the last track. “We’re banned from playing it live!!” laughs Mark. “Our fans tell us it’s too ‘girly’!”
The band formed in March 2008 after Mark’s previous band The Rebel Ching had split up. Friends since school, bass player Lewis Betteridge and drummer Phil Boulter completed the trio and the band practiced on and off over a period of months. “We had two albums worth of material before we played our first gig,” states Mark. That first gig was at The Joiners on 27th December last year. “We had 75 people there to see us!” the band beam.
Not only is the band’s ambition refreshing, their approach is too. “We don’t use amps. We use pods and floor pedals for vocal effects. We recorded the entire EP in Mark’s bedroom!” offers Phil. Listening to “Resisting Movement…”, it is difficult to believe. The EP captures the bands angst ridden and downright dirty live sound perfectly.
Counting Muse, My Virtiol and “Holy Bible” era Manic Street Preachers amongst their influences, the band have achieved milestone after milestone in lightning fast time. “We’re setting milestones all the time. First we wanted to play at the Eastleigh Festival, which we did this year,” enthuses Mark. “We then aimed to headline The Joiners and that happened a few weeks ago. We also recently played our first London gig. This has all happened a lot sooner than we could have reasonably expected.”
So what do the band make of the Southampton music scene? “We’ve always had good gigs in front of good crowds in Southampton,” offers Mark. “However Southampton needs a music scene built like it has been in Portsmouth. They have unsigned nights on every week there and they encourage people to come. There are more than enough good bands around. Science Of Eight Limbs, Jazica and Plastic Toys are all bands we’d like to play live with.”
Following their recent support slots with The Boxer Rebellion at The Joiners and a storming set at the most recent Angry Badger Records Showcase Night at Soul Cellar, the band have plenty more live dates coming up. With their startling rate of progress, it would be well worth catching them in the smaller venues while you can.
In the meantime, our European friends are certainly in for a treat!
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