Broken Three Ways, Return To The Shack. Album Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

Broken Three Ways they might be, however there is nothing fragmented or faulty with the Wirral band’s debut album Return To The Shack.

This punchy force of nature with a sly knowing grin attached album is a breath of fresh air in a world that at times seems to have forgotten what Ska and Punk was about. Whilst Ska especially might not be the first thing you think of when the term the Wirral comes up in conversation, Broken Three Ways address the discussion in waiting head on, the banter that steams into view of comparisons with the likes of The Selecter uppermost on people’s thoughts. There is no comparison worthy of placing before them though, except that they both sound incredibly awesome, it is the only comparison that should be mentioned.

The Punk element is raw, energetic, and enthusiastically infectious; it sits alongside the Ska as if embroiled in a long term unfazed marriage of mutual admiration. This is no marriage of convenience, a brief affair between two genres that once finished never speaks too each other again and only nods with grated teeth as they pass their way out of the door to their own solicitor. The music laid down on Return To The Shack is brimming with ideas, animated and fruitful, the passion which assembles at the very heart of the album flows creatively outwards and finds a home worth living in.

There are moments of pure unadulterated joy in listening to Return To The Shack, the type of joy that makes you hunt down your house keys, jump on a bus and head to London with a petition to ban soulless people from entering music for profit. Music that grabs you this well should be elevated above the normal.

Tracks such as the opener Top of the World, I Hear Lately, the brilliant No More We Won’t Listen, the sublimely robust You’ve Been Gripped and What Kind Of Man all combine with a musical elegance that just growls playfully like a tiger torn between pouncing on a fat and out of breath zebra but knowing there is a ball of string lurking nearby in which to taunt.

Some things come out best when they are unexpected; Broken Three Ways’ Return To The Shack yields great results.

Ian D. Hall