The Broken West Now Or Heaven

Merge Records was on quite a successful run last year, including the striking debut of Los Angeles’ the Broken West. It was a wonderful collection of power pop gems that immediately won them quite a few fans. Yet those fans might find themselves a little confused by the follow-up. Now Or Heaven is a subtler beast for several reasons but that doesn’t make it a lesser record. It’s quite the reverse in fact because the Broken West have shown a remarkable amount of growth and development in a short amount of time. They haven’t completely turned their back on shimmering guitar pop but there are many more layers and the band are drawing from a much wider sonic spectrum. From the frenetic drumming of "Gwen, Now and Then” to the piano-driven "Auctioneer,” the overall mood might be mellower but the band are still successful in their quest for great pop songs. Hopefully the next stage of their evolution will prove to be equally fruitful. (Merge)