Dreamy glide-like music that is awash with moody synth. Stay Connected is album that feels like an uneasy dream, but is actually beauty embellished with glorious harmonies.
YMR Album Rating: ***** (5/5)
An album seemingly about connection – intimate, lonely – people reaching out in today’s world. Stay Connected contains eleven songs that give a poetic glimpse into people, with perceptive vignettes into the human spirit.
Kelly Day and Jane Hendry are the Melbourne based duo Broads, with Stay Connected being their second offering.
The dream begins with ‘Mirror’, a song that captures the gloriousness and narcissism of social media – the darkness and lightness of it all. “To be brittle/to be exact/what’s the harm in that?” – the comments that stream social media in an endless supply of words. The fakes. The need to be liked. Reaching out for affirmation, but still remaining insular. The track flows and glides in a synth wave but ends with an ominous sounding electric guitar – out of control like the comments on Instagram.
‘Emily’ continues with that out of control theme, webbed in a nostalgic reverie. The protagonist is sitting with Emily on the curb, having a few drinks. The song again drifting in like a distant dream immersed in kaleidoscopic drunkenness. “By the time I realised/That she was gone/We were watching fireworks on the neighbour’s lawn” – who is Emily and where has she gone? We don’t know, but we are left leaving the dream like aerial footage from a drone, getting further and further away from that dream.
‘Velvet Paradise’ has that nostalgic pop feel – something that the Danish band The Raveonettes have mastered – a song seemingly about connection and the need for company. As two souls sit next to each other on a lonesome bus. A song that is as lonely as the open road. “We got hours to go/And I feel we’re getting closer” – where the bus feels like a cell with all those velvet seats. A song that would make a great David Lynch film.
The intro of ‘Mushies’ starts like a Pink Floyd track but then morphs into Cocteau Twins. Sometimes the lyrics are indecipherable (there are no lyric sheets, nor can they be googled) – but it doesn’t take away the atmospherics of the song. A song that is probably not about mushrooms!
Stay Connected never makes you feel safe or comforted, there is always an uneasiness that lurks in all the beautiful harmonies. ‘No Love Required’ and ‘The One’ has Day and Hendry sounding like Kate & Anna McGarrigle. The connection theme of the songs, also exemplifies that connection between people can be a difficult thing to execute – and sometimes those connections don’t work, even with the ones that you fuck.
From the sweeping darkness of ‘Bones’, the etherealness of ‘Aurora’ and the heaviness of ‘Ocean’ – this album reels you in. It gathers you in like an unpredictable current and takes you on a magical journey. You have no choice but to hear this album again and again and again.
Stay Connected is an album that deserves attention, with all its atmospherics, unease, beauty and commentary on the vulnerability of people and that human need for some sort of connection. Sometimes the feeling of the album is akin to a ‘knife in a baby’s room’ vibe – that slippery feeling of sweetness and horror makes this album one of the most compelling of the year. We are under its spell.
Stay Connected is out now.