Bishop Allen

In 2006 this Brooklyn quartet released an EP every month and became self-made legends in blogs the world over. The Broken String is the bands sophomore album and is comprised of nine reworked songs from the EP's and 2 new cuts. The urgent time restrictions imposed on the EP songs shine forth here in simple, direct songwriting - but benefit greatly from the rich face-lift that The Broken String gives them.

From the slow building majesty of opening track The Monitor to the bar-room sing-along of closer The News From Your Bed, this album is simply a joy to be in the company of. The songwriting is very much in the vein of contemporary American icon Ben Folds, with it's piano driven melodies but has the quirky dark side of Eels. The 12 songs span a refreshing array of musical moods. Click, Click, Click, Click is an up-beat lesson is in joyful pop while Flight 180's string section and soaring vocals hints at the latent power this band possesses. The glorious Like Castanets hints at a feel good factor last seen in Loney, Dear's Sologne - and Choose Again's sadness makes it clear that this band aren't just here to make us feel better.

Using simple programming, banjo, piano, guitars and the good old hand clap Bishop Allen prove that good song writing is really all you need to make an album of this quality. It's hard to think of a single negative thing to say about The Broken String and after such an ambitious year last year the mind boggles at what these guys can produce when they give themselves less Sufjan-like deadlines.