Mary Broadcast Releases EP
Those who want to make it big in pop music these days have no choice but to go big or go home, and ironically enough it’s a simple EP from singer Mary Broadcast casting the largest shadow over the indie pop genre this late winter season. Broadcast’s Panic is a searing progressive effort that doesn’t mince words or melodies when it comes to presenting us with themes equally dark and light the same, and while it represents a much more mature look from its developer, I have to say it’s not coming a moment too soon.
This player has been coming into her own for a while now, but it wasn’t until I sat down with the title track and opening cut of this latest release that I realized how much she’s eclipsed a lot of her American competition. While the European underground is arguably the hottest pop scene in the world right now, America has been pushing a lot of intriguing experimentalism along the lines of Panic for a good minute, and this is somehow meeting the two realms right in the middle through a series of grooves and harmonies that seem to capture the essence of both and neither at the same time.
Mary Broadcast’s self-awareness was what initially got me turned on to her music several years ago, and I like how it’s influencing the structure of this record. Rather than playing through the progressive showmanship we’ve been hearing ever since Pink Floyd changed the progressive genre forever back in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, the cosmetically mismatched “Bastille,” “Bazar,” and “Zone 4” fit together rigidly and without reason, nonetheless supporting a consistency in these lyrics and the overall aesthetical direction that left me quite enamored as both a critic and a fan of good music.
You can’t get around the existentialism of “Aver” and the lyrical protagonist from which the song takes its name, but I have to note that at no point does Mary Broadcast overindulge in this theme. She seems intent on staying efficient in spots where a lot of others would have gone crazy with theatrics, and this is another area where she sets herself apart from the many progressive pop songwriters who are more or less trying to produce something just like Panic. This is a good example of what to do, but not necessarily something I can envision anyone replicating with success.
Panic is, in a single word, moving. It’s at times hard to digest and lives up to its title from a uniquely introspective point of view, but above all else, I think it’s required listening for anyone who has discriminating taste in indie pop. This is just too complete a venture to be ignored, and judging from the buzz it’s helping to generate around Mary Broadcast’s ever-expanding brand and discography, I feel like it’s going to get her the accolades from the press and critics that she’s been hunting down since the release of her first single not so many years ago.