ARTIST: The Broken West
TITLE: Now or Heaven
BITRATE: 188kbps avg
PLAYTIME: 0h 39m total
RELEASE DATE: 2008-09-09
RIP DATE: 2008-08-28
1. Gwen, Now and Then 3:55
2. Auctioneer 3:33
3. Elm City 3:53
4. Ambuscade 3:45
5. Perfect Games 3:12
6. House of Lies 3:44
7. The Smartest Man Alive 3:39
8. Got It Bad 4:25
9. Terror For Two 4:04
10. Embassy Row 5:11
A search for something invisible. Something just beneath the surface.
Something hidden in plain sight—the fingerprints on the picture.
Something that has been right there all along.
On a small strip of grass in a backyard in Los Angeles.
It was in a backyard of their L.A. neighborhood that Ross Flournoy, Danny Iead,
Rob McCorkindale, Brian Whelan and friend/writing partner Adam Vine developed
Now or Heaven, The Broken West’s second full-length album. A sense of home,
symbolized by that small strip of grass, provided the necessary amount of
comfort and inspiration after a long tour in support of their acclaimed debut, I
Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On.
With Now or Heaven, The Broken West have captured a pathos that at once sparkles
and is simultaneously depraved, altogether L.A. While many bands’ second albums
end up being about the road, Now or Heaven originates from home, the longing to
get there and all that comes from being there. The perspective generated from
the time spent on the road and the distance traveled led to a new, unnamable
Drummer Rob McCorkindale and bassist Brian Whelan tempered and extended the
rhythms and the tone of longing first explored on I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On.
Each song on Now or Heaven contains clever guitars and sublime harmonies, while
the drums and bass deliver driving, deliberate rhythms that are more than
metronomic; these pulses literally and figuratively power the album. Now or
Heaven also marks Brian’s songwriting debut with the dynamic romp, “Got It Bad.”
The serendipity and the gravity found in the lyrics reflect the ultimatum put
forth by the album’s title: Now or Heaven. The title itself springs from an
alternate lyric suggestion: “now or heaven” instead of “now or never.” This
inadvertent wordplay stuck, as it reflects the band’s sense of humor as well as
their weariness from a year spent on the road.
“Got It Bad” begins with “two days and a changing scene,” and a weary cynicism
is introduced. The immediacy of the music continues to echo in the lyrics until
the end, highlighted by the upbeat “Perfect Games” (“We waste our time/When we
could be righting every wrong”), the steadfast and deceptive “Ambuscade”
(“Living in a lion’s den/Turned me into one of them”), the piano-laden
“Auctioneer,” and the tongue-in-cheek “The Smartest Man Alive.” Each song finds
the band contemplating themes of desire and, ultimately, a search for a respite
within the constant state of flux in which we live.
The Broken West spent a year searching for “a diamond in a bag of ice,” only to
find what they were looking for in their own backyard. Ross, Danny, Rob and
Brian may have returned from their travels with a more sinister perspective on
the world, but despite everything, each song on Now or Heaven is infused with an
immediate burst of catchy familiarity and unquenchable charm.