Published Nov 08, 2018Jason Sniderman's Ensign Broderick alias has quietly existed for decades: the NQ Arbuckle/Blue Peter member has crafted whole album's worth of solo material without putting them out into the world. But now, backed by Six Shooter Records (who helped make four archival Ensign albums available earlier this year), BloodCrush arrives as a "new" Broderick release. Drawing back the curtains on those years of private songwriting, the album reveals him to be a purveyor of skilled, artful nuance in eight songs that resists easy categorization.
Styles shift and bend across BloodCrush. "Standing In My Light" opens the album with a rumbling, confident build of instruments and sing-able hooks, punctuated with horn stabs that circle like the scandal catching up to the song's central figure. Immediately after, album standout "Love Died/Dies Here" sprints headlong into a dramatic, War on Drugs-ish ode to uncertain love. Later, "Drowning Pool Eyes" finds a baroque compassion in piano and sonic accoutrements; "Anonymous Incorporated" sets into on a swaggering low-end march; and the piano-and-strings of "Winter's Journey" closes the album with a tender chill.
There are layers of sound and eras of influence to parse here, but it's hard not to just get caught up in the pure energy of BloodCrush. Its eight songs peddle in momentum built from skilful instrumentation and Sniderman's flair for romantic scale in his songwriting. After quietly crafting Ensign Broderick songs for decades, the thrill of giving them a public release here feels palpable. (Six Shooter)