Stereo, Glasgow, Wed 9 Dec 2009
Throughout their career, Birmingham’s Broadcast have created a brand of ghostly electronic pop which might fairly be described as comforting. Yet this latest live incarnation, promoting the new EP ‘Broadcast and the Focus Group Investigate the Witch Cults of the Radio Age’ and comprising only founder members Trish Keenan and James Cargill, removes the pair quite decisively from their comfort zone.
Of course, Keenan – wearing a casual bohemian tunic top and a straight chestnut fringe, and performing in front of a back projection of random psychedelic images – is integral to the Broadcast sound. Her high, spectral voice sounds as if it’s being radioed in from another planet, and is a grounding factor in a gig which sees the pair stood behind trestle tables of electronics at either end of the stage. The almost entirely synthesised (aside from Cargill’s sparse basslines) versions of those particularly out-there new songs and noise-laden reworkings of their old tracks sacrifice a little of their conciseness for heaped-high sonic invention, although a couple of new tracks played near the end do suggest that the value of a good hook hasn’t been forgotten.