The Broken String

The Broken String
Bishop Allen

Bishop Allen released their second full length album this week, called The Broken String, and I was excited to pick it up, and then somewhat disappointed to discover that 10 of the 12 songs were new versions of songs from their monthly EPs of last year. In fact, including the live versions on the August EP, I have some of these songs 3 times, and I think "Butterfly Nets" 4 times.

Fine, I guess, if these were the definitive versions of the songs, but I don't feel like I can make that statement with a clear conscience. While the songs are all arranged differently than on their original EPs, I'm not prepared to say that they're arranged better, with one caveat: I think the bass guitar is better on this record than it was on most of the EPs. Read into that what you will.

I'm especially worried about the new version of "Corazon," which may have been my favorite of the month songs (from January). It's about a piano, and the original featured a banged up old piano. That piano is somewhat lost in the new arrangement.

But the question that really needs to be asked here is "why?" It's one thing (and I think many would say still a shameful thing) for an artist to release new versions of old songs at the end of a career, as a retrospective–but these songs just came out. The EPs were ambitious, following hard on the first record, Charm School, but this is the opposite of ambitious. It's resting on laurels, and it's too soon for that.

Skip it.

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