ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR
The Broke Loose started out in Omaha’s rock-and-roll underground in the fall of 2012. They cite their main musical influences as The Replacements, The Clash, Tom Petty, Husker Du, and Wilco. They’ve all played in the Omaha music scene for some time: notably drummer Tim Cox of RAF and bassist Corey Randone of Jimmy Skaffa. In October 2015, they cut their EP, “Who Are You Wearing?” in Nashville with Grammy-nominated producer (and former Wilco and Uncle Tupelo drummer) Ken Coomer at his studio, Cartoon Moon. This will serve as their first true introduction to listeners.
The influences are well chosen, The Replacements and The Clash especially. There are also some strong 90’s vibes. There is a hard sound that occasionally complements grunge, and a speed to it that complements ska. The music does not feel all over the place, however – “Who are You Wearing?” introduces The Broke Loose as a group who already knows what they want.
The first track, “My Own Kind” is the hardest sounding track on the EP. The band’s resemblance to Husker Du is at its strongest here, there’s a little of Nirvana’s influence here. The story here of the speaker and his rediscovery of an old flame. There is an implication that he maybe did not want to see her, but eventually they elope, because she is “of my own kind.” They click, and she gets him, regardless of what he may like, that it works for him sometimes.
The second, “Byzantine”, covers a different angle. It talks about an encounter, could be anywhere, and its sexual in nature. Its flirtatious. The song later becomes more apocalyptic, and the title, “Byzantine” refers to what the Roman Empire called itself in its dying days. This implies heavily that this encounter went badly, maybe with an accusation of sexual harassment? Or even something getting filed?”
Track three, “Just Had a Feelin”, chronicles a struggle with addiction. It follows this addict through this process where they opt to make a bad decision because of their addiction, it backfires, they have to deal with the mess that comes afterwards and ask for “forgiveness and empathy.” They, then, after some decide to start the cycle all over again because they “just wanted to feel good” and they “just had a feelin’”. It’s a powerful song.
Track four, “Or Does It Explode?” is a satire about the relationship between the military industrial complex and the media. The song is interested in how disconnected we as a populace are from international issues and how that is so often caused by the media refusing to report on them. It is also where the line of the EP debuts, “Who Are You Wearing?” it is using during what seems to be a red carpet pre-show, so there are (earned) digs at Hollywood too. What is interesting is the choice. Why use the title here? It is clear that this song is meant to be the centerpiece of the EP.
Track number five, “One Less”, goes through the indignation that comes with losing a friend. The whole song, the speaker talks about people communicating “who needs you? I sure don’t!”
The Broke Loose should appeal to fans of all the musicians they have listed as influence. It is possible that fans of Nirvana would be able to enjoy their art, or at least the fans that like Nirvana’s more pop’y tracks. This is one to be strongly recommended to fans of The Offspring, and most other pop-punk and ska acts from the 90’s.
The Broke Loose’s EP, “Who Are You Wearing?” will officially be released at Reverb Lounge on October 28th. It will be available in limited-edition 12’’ vinyl and digital download.