It’s sadly been a long time since we’ve heard from Oregon’s Broadway Calls. After putting out one of the best albums of the year back in 2009 and doing some great tours, the band kind of just disappeared. They lost their bassist, put out a somewhat mediocre EP (Toxic Kids) and got dropped from the SideOneDummy roster, which led to signs of the band coming to a possible end.
All hope was not lost: in late 2012 things completely turned around for the band. Broadway Calls got a fresh start when they signed to No Sleep Records (a perfect fit for them), got a brand new bassist and announced the release of their awesome new record, Comfort/Distraction.
Comfort/Distraction starts off strongly with “Bring On The Storm,” an anthem of sorts that makes for a perfect opener. There is also a youthful ballad at the end that would be great in a live setting. The song is very reminiscent of the band’s first record, which is the direction the band was definitely seeking with this release.
Next up is “Open Letter,” which also appeared on their split with Mixtapes last year. The album title stems from the song and it is shows the band at their best as Ty Vaughn belts out “A comfort, a distraction, a fuck is all I have to give. And I can’t say no, although I’m not trained to save you. And I can’t say no. I swear I’ll never turn my back.” The song will be a lot of Broadway Calls fans’ new favorite and might be the perfect introduction to the band for people who are not familiar with them.
“Zombie World,” is a fun pop-punk song, while “Lucky Lighter,” the album’s first single, is one of the best songs the band has written to date. The song starts off with Josh Baird’s steady drumbeats and provides us with a catchy beat to jump around too. Vaughn’s vocals are better than ever as he sings, “My wishing well has gone dry now, I stay up and I stay high, this isn’t the saddest, maddest that I can be. Just right now this works for me.”
“Wildly Swinging,” and “I’ll Be There” continue showing a big improvement with Broadway Calls. The latter shows a much more mature side of the band with a killer bass line from new member Adam Willis. “Life is Rhythm,” is Broadway Calls in full punk mode, a one minute in your face jam. The band sounds great when they are playing as fast as they can. This is another song that would work very well into their live set.
“Stealing Sailboats,” is one of the only songs on the record to show Willis’ vocals off. The best part of the bands last two records was former bassist Matt Koenig’s vocals providing the perfect edge to Vaughn’s nasally voice. Willis does a good job, and while it’s a little different it works out just fine. The song is also an extended full band version of the last track off their Toxic Kids EP. “Full of Hope” is not the best closer the band has ever done but it gets the job done and ends the record on a positive note.
Comfort/Distraction is a great record for where Broadway Calls is in their career. It’s the record that every fan of the band wanted at this point. Even after somewhat disappearing after the last few years they prove that they are still one of the best bands playing their type of sound. With a new label, new bassist and a lot of touring plans, the band might just be able to climb the way to the top of the punk scene.