The Broken West I Can't Go On, I'll Go On

Los Angeles’ the Broken West have written a wonderful pop record where each song jumps out of the speakers with all the dignity of a hyperactive adult. Formerly known as the Brokedown, the Broken West write giddy guitar jams and introspective, folksy numbers with maturity and skill. Songs like "On the Bubble” and "Brass Ring” are near-perfect, sweet pop rock workouts that channel the Kinks and the Beatles as readily as they do Guided by Voices and Spoon. The chiming guitars and upbeat groove found on "So it Goes” is as sunny as any Byrds song, while the dark hues and slop rock of "Down in the Valley” recall the Velvet Underground. Though they’ve hit upon a great sound, the Broken West are multi-dimensional, exploring bright, cheery song ideas from varied angles. The brooding "Shiftee” comes off like a long haul, only to turn on a dime and morph into a palatable bit of ’60s-style psych pop. "Big City” is a meaty track that is a refreshingly contemporary nod to the Fab Four, while "Hale Sunrise” creeps into the burgeoning techno pop sound of the late ’70s. At every corner, the Broken West emerge with sonic surprises on I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On, a great gem of an album. (Merge)