Marked by effervescence, smeared with loss: “Space Island” by Broods excels
In 2019, New Zealand siblings Georgia and Caleb Nott – also known as the Broods – released their comeback LP Don’t feed the pop monster, which comes across as an extravagant experiment in the making of pop music. Three years later, the pair delivered space islanda work that retains the sonic styles of its predecessor but greatly expands upon its founding content and depth.
The thematic narrative intertwining each track on space island is the end of the marriage of singer Georgia, whose grief seems to fuel the making of this record. Emotion pervades almost every track, albeit in very different constructions, but nonetheless brings a sense of realism and vulnerability to the duo’s discography. contrary to Don’t feed the pop monster and other previous works, space island is fully committed to exploring and deconstructing pain, making this record a powerful yet fun take on the grief genre.
As the album opens with “Goodbye World, Hello Space Island”, there is an undeniable paradigm shift from minute one, gently and thoughtfully leading the listener towards something unexpected. Broods fans know the band for their unwavering hooks and infectious synth arrangements; here, however, the duo heralds a whole new direction for this time around. Even as the opening presents itself, slowly and in a distorted way, Broods deftly announces a common thread in space island: melancholy.
Putting the two in the same sentence – Broods and melancholy – seems almost contradictory. Again, space island exists as evidence of the group’s growth and maturity, handling the facets of love and loss with confidence and contagious energy. In a way, this represents the heart of the duo – how the pair are able to turn any context, any concept into a pop spectacle.
All along space island, however, Broods doesn’t just produce silly pop; instead, tender emotion sits at the forefront of every lyric and behind every synth, encompassing the entire LP. The raw pain and heartache in Georgia’s voice brings together all the elements of the album – from heavy bass to shimmering harmonics, tying together a seemingly incoherent grouping of styles. The mix of such sonic intensity and lyrical sincerity allows the record to work so well, and despite its odd appearance, it makes space island effective and evocative listening.
The peak of space island enters in top form on “Piece of My Mind”, one of the most successful fusions of the Broods formula. The track is honest, fast but still true to the feelings it presents. Psychological angst and insecurity highlight new dimensions for a track that might otherwise feel expected or overdone.
The first half of space island is powered by pure and intense passion. It’s intoxicating and multifaceted, enriched by the intimate look around Georgia’s psyche. This is also where the record achieves its most powerful and effective resonance – holding the energy throughout for an unfailing concoction of emotion and effervescence.
Unfortunately, the second half of space island struggle to preserve the vigor of the opening pieces. A litany of slower bits interrupt the charm and intrigue developed from Broods’ earlier combination of speed and affection. While a single heartbreaking ballad would be an understandable admission into the album’s track listing, the dark, all-consuming mood of the second half creates too much friction, souring the album’s ending.
This is, however, a relatively minor flaw in the grand scheme of space island, which is certainly overshadowed by Broods’ fervor, wit and understanding of pop. What this sibling duo has created is an undeniable testament to the evolution of pop, and the future of the genre is in Broods hands.
Contact Ryan Garay at [email protected].