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Broomtree - Broomtree

Review by Paul M. Carhart
Originally published in The Lighthouse Electronic Magazine (TLeM)

The blurred picture of chattering teeth on the cover of Broomtree's self-titled debut album is a bit disconcerting. Whether or not one identifies this image to Halloween gags or mere innocent sophmoric humor, it is enough to cause the more pop-friendly, adult contemporary, safe and sane Christian music fans to procede with caution when purchasing this album. Perhaps for good reason, for fans of Twila Paris , Amy Grant, and Crystal Lewis will probably NOT cotton to the raucous sound of Broomtree. On the other hand, fans of Audio Adrenaline, Christine Glass, and Miss Angie probably won't be able to stop playing it because, scary teeth aside, there is much of substance for one's ears to chomp on beyond the cover.

This youth oriented group is fronted by Kylie Schilg who sings lead, plays guitar and writes or co-writes most of the material. Schilg's lyrics are honest and even evangelistic at times, as evidenced by chorus to rocker, "Narrow":

Narrow eyes, dead in hope
Searching for a broadened scope
Narrow way for you to go
Narrow hearts that need to know

Having an elusive sound that seems familiar without seeming like someone else, Broomtree does one thing really well. They rock! According to track four (a short excerpt from a radio station interview) Broomtree's sound has been described as "hard and happy chick music." Indeed, another way of putting it might be Sixpence None The Richer on steroids.

Fortunately, Schilg has a pretty good set of pipes that she uses to lift her voice over the ever-present wall of distortion that backdrops most of the album. Many of the songs, including "Flower In The Mud", "Realize," and "Save You" are good old fashioned rockers with a 90's edge to them. Indeed, this album is entirely guitar driven, utilizing track upon track of guitars...mostly of some sort of distorted nature or another. Chorus effects, delays and other effects are also generously distributed throughout the album to mix it up a bit and give the album a dynamic texture.

Seeming a little out of place is probably the highlight of the album, "The Boy/Girl Song" which starts out sounding like it is playing through an AM radio and then moves into the wah-wah pedal saturated groovy verse. Rest assured "Boy/Girl" returns to the realm of distortion for the chorus, perhaps highlighting this band's dynamic potential to the fullest as the song runs it's course. Only on the last track, "Blue Skies," does Broomtree really slow down for a breather, trading in the band's distortion pedals for a clean chorus sound which does a better job of highlighting Schilg's smooth, seemingly effortless singing.

Whatever the meaning of the chattering teeth, or the band's name for that matter, Broomtree delivers "hard and happy chick music" with a dash of radio friendly pop sensibility for good measure. For those who frequently treat their ears to some crunchy, hard ear candy...enjoy.


Related Information

For a year or so I was a CD reviewer for The Lighthouse Electronic Magazine (TLeM) where this review was originally published.

- Paul M. Carhart


  © 1998 Paul M. Carhart, all rights reserved, all media.