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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “The Broken West provide a smart, modern take on ’60s pop”

    Rock band The Broken West has evolved from its Brokedowns days into Pitchfork Media fame. Check out the show at Plush to see if the band lives up or lives down that infamy.
    Rock band The Broken West has evolved from its Brokedowns days into Pitchfork Media fame. Check out the show at Plush to see if the band lives up or lives down that infamy.

    Ross Flournoy has an undergraduate degree in political science from New England’s Amherst College. Now he’s touring America as a rock ‘n’ roll front man.

    Fluornoy’s band, The Broken West, is one of the newest signings to North Carolina’s Merge Records. Considering that Merge is the label of choice for artists like Arcade Fire, M. Ward and Spoon, there’s no doubt The Broken West is in good company.

    While some bands have gained success by releasing records on their own, Fluornoy thinks that a record label, especially the right one, is the best way to go.

    “”Since we started as a band, (Merge) was the label that we aspired to be on,”” Fluornoy said. “”We wanted (our debut) to come out on a label to get the support to tour.””

    After the band was signed to the well-known indie label, music fans began to notice. Online music blogs began to praise the band, which at the time was called The Brokedown, for its George Harrison-inspired pop. Bloggers weren’t the only ones to pay attention to the band’s buzz, however. Illinois punk band The Brokedowns threatened a lawsuit against the band shortly after its signing to Merge.

    The Broken West dropped the last letter of The Brokedowns after hearing of the Illinois group. This, apparently, wasn’t enough.

    “”We were aware of them, so we dropped the ‘S’,”” Fluornoy said. “”The truth is they had the name first, but no one was ever going to confuse us with those guys.””

    While Fluornoy and the rest of The Broken West may have been left with a bitter taste in their mouths, the band has since moved on.

    Fluornoy, who handles vocals and guitar, along with guitarist Dan Iead co-wrote the majority of the band’s debut album, I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go

    Ross Flournoy of The Broken West Favorite’s
    Favorite Album: Teenage Fanclub’s “”Songs from Northern Britain””
    Favorite Movie: Goodfellas
    Favorite city to play music: New York City
    Favorite Food: Seared AhiOn.

    The title is a phrase coined by Irish writer Samuel Beckett. While this may make the band seem “”bookish,”” he explained the line came to be a joke within the band.

    “”It gives the impression of perseverance, but it’s also funny,”” Fluornoy said.

    The title borrowed from literature is appropriate, given the band’s methodical songwriting strategy. Lush pop-rock soundscapes are found throughout the meticulously constructed record.

    “”We’re really interested in melody and structure,”” Flournoy said. “”I’m interested in writing really good songs.””

    Flournoy has many influences in his songwriting, including Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin and Muddy Waters. Listeners to The Broken West’s debut album are likely to draw comparisons to the pop sounds of The Byrds, The Kinks and even the masters of the genre: The Beatles.

    A moment of truth for the band came when the highly-influential Web site PitchforkMedia.com reviewed I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On.

    “”I was scared shitless,”” said Flournoy, referring to the possible side effects of a poor Pitchfork review.

    The album received a 6.7 out of 10, but Flournoy is happy with the review, calling it his favorite of the album so far.

    “”It was well done, but the score was lower than the review indicated,”” Flournoy said. “”They really took time with the record; there weren’t that many negative comments in it.””

    When it comes down to it, The Broken West is a band interested in music and none of the glitz and glamour associated with some trendy rock acts today.

    “”We’re not doing scissor kicks and cartwheels across the stage,”” Flournoy joked.

    “”There’s never been anything artifice to anything we’ve done.””

    The Broken West performs Saturday at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Tickets are $7 for the 21-and-up show. The Broken West is scheduled to take the stage at 10:30 p.m. with headliners Limbeck playing at 11:30 p.m.

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