Released: 2010, Relapse Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Broughton’s Rules is one of the more diverse bands to find a home within the Relapse Records roster. An instrumental four piece from Pittsburgh, PA, their debut BOUNTY HUNTER 1853 is decisively un-metal. The band’s bio describes their sound as “equal parts heavy post-rock, Krautrock and Morricone soundtrack twang…” I don’t know what any of that really means, but I what I do know is that I found this album to be fresh, different, and ultimately enjoyable. If you subscribe to a “metal-only” diet, then you’ll probably want to skip to the next review, but if you’ve got a broader musical pallet, then read on.
Broughton’s Rules have a jam vibe throughout the disc that comes across as completely natural. And the musical arrangements are put together creatively enough that each song tells a story without the need for actual words. The songs are subdued and introspective, and at times BOUNTY HUNTER 1853 feels like the soundtrack to an avante gard art house film. The title track creates anticipation with its impending approach, while “Disaster of the Week” builds tension with the hypnotic single note bend. “Broadside” is my favorite track of the collection, and has a rockier, dreamlike quality to it. “Childhood Sun” has a laid back, atmospheric lounge feel, while “Coyote Eyes” is the aural equivalent of being lost in the desert under a starry, moonlit sky. It’s a diverse album to say the least.
BOUNTY HUNTER 1853 is an album that you’ll either love or loathe. Sometimes a band may not fit into traditional genre definitions, but that doesn’t mean that the music doesn’t deserve an audience. At least that’s what I imagine the Relapse A&R team said when they signed Broughton’s Rules. They’re not a metal band, get over it. What they are is a group of talented musicians and songwriters that have taken the road far less traveled. It took several listens for it to sink in, but I really enjoyed BOUNTY HUNTER 1853. Relapse is one of the few labels that’s really stuck to its roots in the face of an ever-changing music industry. They had faith in Broughton’s Rules, and that should be enough incentive for you to give it a chance. BOUNTY HUNTER 1853 is available now and samples are available on the band’s website.