These Walls of Mine is without doubt one of the bravest, most boldy conceived albums this year and veers about as far from the standard singer-songwriter template as it is possible for a singer-songwriter to do.
It’s also a crashing failure.
That is a disappointing conclusion to come to because there is so much promise here and so many ideas that briefly threaten to work before disappearing into over-indulgence.
Sonically, Broderick’s comfort zone appears to be somewhere close to John Grant, Perfume Genius or the more downbeat moments in the Grandaddy canon. But a clearly stated agenda not to get sucked into familiarity leads him to treat his songs with a cut-and-paste aesthetic more readily associated with Radiohead.
There’s awkward spoken word and even more awkward rapping on the two-part title track(s), a ghostly soundmash on the eight-minute ‘Copenhagen Ducks’ and what appears to be direct interaction with friends and family on the emotionally bare ‘I Do This’.
It’s all interesting but barely a single track goes by without the idea fraying at the seams.
Worst of all is ‘Freyr!’, the lyrics for which are based around an email received by Broderick about his cat going missing while he was on tour. As a 90-second aside this might have worked, a slice of real life in all its mundanity, but he somehow drags it out for six and a half excruciating minutes.
By the end the song, and by extension Broderick, has jumped the shark in an almost unforgiveable fashion.
There is enough here to suggest the former Efterklang man has a compelling album in him somewhere along the line, but this is a draft best consigned to the cutting room floor.
Words: Rory Dollard