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BROODS want you to embrace heartbreak on Space Island

"Space Island"

Release date: 18 February 2022
7/10
Broods space island art
04 March 2022, 19:27 Written by Amaya Lim
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If you’re not listening closely, you wouldn’t know that Space Island is about grief.

Most of the newest BROODS album, like all their previous work, sounds like it would be accompanied by a laser light show to a crowd of twenty-somethings in minimal, multicolored dress. Upon further inspection, the pair's fourth record follows the painful process of singer Georgia Nott’s recent divorce, from doubt to liberation to nostalgia to acceptance. This emotional intensity has always been present in BROOD’s music, but this record’s coherent concept and more delicate production style shed some of the layers they’ve worn in the past.

The sibling duo (completed by brother Caleb Nott) originally from New Zealand, are now based in Los Angeles, and were once considered a synth-pop band, yet now they're impossible to pin down as any one thing.

The band’s signature is Georgia’s soft falsetto, the way her voice sounds simultaneously pained and flippant. She delivers bold lines (“Are you still in love/After all the distance, after all the drugs?”) plainly, with little embellishment, as if she doesn’t really care to know the answers to her questions. At times, Space Island pushes the bounds of feasible distance between music and lyrics, especially in the final single, “Like a Woman”. That distance starts to feel like a stretch when they attempt to explain so much and still wrap it up in under four minutes, to pack something as complex as gender roles into the clever packaging of a pop song.

The record’s themes are actually most potent when the details are absent, when the rendering is a little blurry, like in “Heartbreak” (“Let your heart break / Give an opportunity to get your feelings straight”). The absence of explanation gives these songs a tone which is less pedantic and more demonstrative; the honesty here is indicative of experience, rather than a point to make. When they lean into the electronic keystones – drops, synth swells, layered vocals – they bring sensitivity to the genre, often criticized for lacking emotional depth.

The only feature on the record, “I Keep”, is a dreamy mediation on separation rooted in a beautiful central metaphor (“I keep kissing electricity / Feels like the real thing to me”). Tove Lo’s vocals are an effective choice; her presence broadens the scope of the story, engages a larger experience outside of Georgia’s specific circumstance. The song sits squarely in the middle of the album, a small reminder of the world outside when a breakup which can feel so insular.

BROODS refuses to be categorized or be boxed in. They meld lyrical sensitivity with electronic production to create something that verges on being a concept album. The meaning gets lost at points, overstretched by the ambition of the record, but resurfaces in the songs that lean into their strengths of clever, subtle songwriting. Space Island asks you to feel your feelings—let your heart break.

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