Their name might not be instantly familiar, but Broken Links have built a loyal following over the past few years. From the back of three self-released EPs and a pair of albums, a pre-pandemic world saw them sharing stages with My Vitriol and The Boxer Rebellion. Their music has been likened to a mix of Depeche Mode and Manic Street Preachers, and while that might not be entirely accurate, it definitely takes a little influence from both in places and then boosts that with a massive dose of riffs that fall somewhere between the more basic elements of Biffy Clyro and the best 90s emo.
Following last year’s album ‘The Harvard Tango’, those retro pop kings The 1957 Tail-Fin Fiasco have returned with new music. A non-album single, ‘J Is For Genius’ takes a side step from their usual Steely Dan obsessions and gives listeners a dose of retro pop in a vastly different style.
Lande Hekt rose to fame as the singer with excellent indie/punk band Muncie Girls, a band whose 90s-centric sounds evoked the past like no other. Lande released an excellent solo EP in 2019 and her debut full length appeared in February 2021.
The 1991 Yes album ‘Union’ is one that very much splits opinion. Rick Wakeman famously nicknamed it ‘Onion’ as it made him cry whenever he heard it, and even from a fan perspective, it never really connected with a strong audience. Those who liked the poppier route Yes had taken in the 80s found musical kinship in the more commercial tracks – like the lead single ‘Lift Me Up’ and Billy Sherwood’s excellent ‘The More We Live – Let Go’ – but didn’t really like the proggier aspects, while the proggy fans welcomed the return of Steve Howe and a few more adventurous bits but still had no time for the pop aspects still present. It was a case of “too many cooks” – the album took in too much variation and enlisted five different producers – and in an attempt to please everyone, almost ended up pleasing no-one.
Back in 2018, multi-instrumentalist, producer and one-time member of The Cure launched a new project, Astral Drive. The “band” acted as an outlet for Thornalley to revisit the kind of 70s AM radio pop he’d always loved. The album marked itself out as an instant classic, often inviting comparisons to the best works by Todd Rundgren and Jeff Lynne; the kind of record that would keep fans of classic retro pop entertained for years.
The album was then represented in stripped back arrangements on a digital release (self-titled, referred to as “The Green Album”), but it didn’t seem as if the world would see brand new music from Astral Drive again for some time…or possibly ever. The original LP almost sounded like a flash in the pan for retro cool; a perfect statement of the past, recreated for the present. To follow it up with anything as perfect would be a tall order after all.