The Broken Family Band - Welcome Home, Loser
(Track and Field)

Well, where do you start? I guess if you're into alternative music, you're probably well aware of The Broken Family Band by now, but if not it rose from the ashes of 90s indie band Hofman as a quirky and played for laughs band that has grown into something altogether more accomplished than its predecessor. A smattering of singles was followed by a mini album ("The King Will Build a Disco") and then their debut long player, 2003's "Cold Water Songs", all of which were incredibly well received, and rightly so. Now on hip and trendy independent label Track and Field, 2005 has so far seen them on said label's Winter Sprinter tour with the likes of Herman Dune and St Thomas, plus the release of their second album proper, "Welcome Home, Loser".

Having straddled the indie/country fence comfortably up until now, WH,L sees them still firmly perched but definitely shifting position. While the combination of daft ho-downs, aching ballads and odd tales that sit somewhere in between still rules, the country feel is definitely less pronounced on the latter, and is better for it. While it may be due to the darkened feel of the album in general, it leaves you with a feeling that the band are just more comfortable with their sound - its an effortless listen, no square pegs in round holes.

And boy is it dark. Where previous songs have felt impersonal at times - great stories, but rarely touching to the real heart of the matter - this sees frontman Steven Adams in heart-pouring mode. Its still often fly on the wall stuff, not telling the whole story but giving just glimpses - more a flashpoint in a scenario - but its much more real, grounded. This time the pictures he paints look like they have him in, and are all the better for it.

But its not only the lyrics that shine brighter. A strength of BFB has always been the quality throughout the band, and never has it been so noticeable. Songs such as "We Already Said Goodbye" and "Yer Little Bedroom" have you picking out every instrument at different points in the song, all playing a full part in the richest of tapestries - everyone earns their keep, and there's no room for lazy bassplayers (well, he does sit down like a lazy bastard, but he can be forgiven), plodding guitarists or unimaginative drummers.

There's no reason why this album shouldn't be fucking massive. Well, except that would involve wanky management, throwing big dollars at the "right" people, touring into an early grave, appearing on children's tv and god knows what else. But it would seem they're past that. Instead, nice people in The Guardian and on Radio 6 and in fanzines and on websites will write thousands of words praising it to the rafters, and a few of you might buy "Welcome Home, Loser" and be better off for it. Go on, treat yourself.

Chris Marling

Now here's an interview I did with Steven Adams, guitarist and singer


Apparently BFB started as a bit of fun - how do you see it now?
Its still fun. Its perhaps more than a bit of fun, because it takes up a lot of time and we get to do some pretty great things, but we started out doing something we thought we'd enjoy and we still do. We've always said we'll stop when we don't like it, there are plenty of other things you can do with your time.

Of what you told yourself you should learnt from the Hofman experience, what did you stick to and what are doing regardless?
I'm not sure really, Hofman had no direction and I'm not sure why I did it. We're doing whatever we can to make good music and have a good time. Maybe Hofman would have done too if I'd put a bit more effort in!

How do you feel about the and Americana tags? Happy with them? Fair? If you had to give yourself a tag, what would it be?
I dunno. I sing in that stupid accent and the style and instrumentation of the tunes is still a bit 'country', but I think we've made it our own thing. People can call us what they like, but we see it as pop music with amps and stuff.

Where have you gone from the first long player? This album seems darker.
This record is deliberately dark. I like a bit of a theme, and on this one it was about getting a lot of spite and anger out in a healthy way. I don't want to make people sad, but I'm lucky enough to sing in a group, so I have an outlet for stuff that would otherwise lead me to smash things up.

How much of you in the songs? More personal now than when you started?
Loads. I've been trying to stick to that 'write about what you know' thing. I'd love to articulate how I feel about US foreign policy and our horrible government and the wonderful work that overseas development charities like ADD and EveryChild are doing, but I'm way more qualified to sing about getting fucked up over ladies.

What’s your favourite track on Welcome Home, and why?
Living In Sin, that always makes me smile. It was a lot of fun to record.

Are you feeding off of the Track & Field vibe? They always seem really enthusiastic, and the other bands - while diverse - are always quality.
Yes indeed. We don't like all the music they put out, but they believe in us and they put in the hours. We're proper friends too, so its a very healthy relationship. I can't imagine we'll leave Track & Field, ever.

How was the winter sprinter?
Tiring. Some weird vibes. Great fun. Herman Dune are always a bit odd - lovely guys but they hate our music and always seem freaked out by us – and they had this rude kid from New York with them. St. Thomas went a bit off the rails in Leeds, but that's because he pushes himself too hard. I love that guy. Oslo was easily the best show... I think that was one of our best.

Where next? Are you tempted to really push to make this a full time job?
We just carry on. We're not getting bored and we're not hungry for fame. It gets a little bit bigger all the time, so we're happy to press on. We'll record another album in the Spring, and hopefully get that out by the end of the summer. Play a load of shows, visit some more Europeans.

Tell me something about the album you haven’t told anyone else, ever.
I frequently took small amounts of MDMA whilst recording.

A piece of advice for up and coming bands?
Check your songwriting against that of your heroes. If its not as good then stop, because there are enough mediocre bands in the world already.

Add anything you might suddenly think of and want to say - surprise me :)
Our next record will be fashionable.

Get merry with The Broken Family Band here