Named after John Broughton, an English boxer known for dueling gloveless, and penning the sports first official rules (supposedly), Pittsburgh post rock outfit Broughton’s Rules follow up Bounty Hunter 1853 with their second album Anechoic Horizon. With recording duties in the hands of Justin Pizzoferrato (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr to name but a few), this promises to be one hell of rich, colourful soundscape.
Galloping in like in like Captain Bravestar on his mechanical steed, ‘Reverers’ picks your curiosity from the word go. The maelström of jagged riffs and stampeding drum loops grabs you by the hand, and starts you on your journey. Initially, it lacks the same grandeur as you would find with say, God Is An Astronaut or Caspian, but what it brings instead is an overwhelming primal heaviness. Towards the end of ‘Gothics’ it’s almost as if the band mimic beating ones chest, as repetitive musical rage acts like prehistoric man preparing for a hunt.
‘Insanity Dance’ is exactly as the name suggests. Nothing makes sense in this place, it’s a random cacophony of scratchy guitar strokes and off beat drum hits, which teeters on the edge of what we think is music, and just random noise. Such is the nature of post rock at times, but where it starts to get interesting is on the album’s title track. It’s a 12+ minute behemoth which drags its carcass through a dense forest of sound, and this is where the band come into their own, big time!
As Anechoic Horizon progresses, so does the size and scope of the bands sound. The jaggedness, the grandeur, the lunacy all gets notched up ten fold, there’s an all new richness that comes through that makes you feel warm inside. ‘The Fields Of None’ is just such a case, as the warm guitar tones go down like a fine bourbon, it’s weird, because there’s almost a sleazy undertone present. The track wouldn’t be out of place in a less than reputable strip club put it that way.
As the album climaxes, the album’s finale ‘Umbra’ is the hypothetical final boss on this journey. The band fire on all cylinders, then die ever so softly when all the dust settles. A fitting way to play out a journey such as this. If I was going to knit pick though, then perhaps it sounds a tad too similar to the likes of Russian Circles and Pelican in parts, it’s still worth exploring if the aforementioned bands are part of your 5 a day though.
Standing out in a vast sea of what post-rock has become is never going to be easy. Broughton’s Rules are one of those bands which can become one of the flag bearers, but they need their own voice to do it. Sounding a bit too alike as some of the genre’s biggest hitters it perhaps holding them back just a little, never the less, the fact remains that Anechoic Horizon is a formidable contender to say the least.