Broadtosser – Poison No. 9

Poison No. 9

Broadtosser, part of the burgeoning Chicago local scene, combine elements of Patti Smith, straight rock and artists from diverse scenes such as X, AFI, the Stooges and Slint. The spooky lyrical venture of “Little Spider” evokes images of crisp leaves drifting towards the sidewalk at dusk on a brisk Halloween. Very similar to AFI’s composition The Art of Drowning, Broadtosser creates a symphonic elegy in “Cherries Red” with guitar distorted to the point of thinness and a punchy bass, poking through the din with bright riffs. While in “Poison No. 9”, Broadtosser goes back to their rock hard roots in a well formed tune even the most discriminate listener can enjoy.

With a spookier tone, akin to some of X’s more country influenced tunes, Broadtosser gets harder on “Little Spider”. References to the Little Miss Muffet yarn start off the number, with Sara Jean’s lyrical muscle ever present over the reverberations of grimy, distorted chords. Double hit snares lend a certain echo to the drums as well as Sara Jean’s voice becomes more intense. Near the two-minute mark, Broadtosser takes a turn bringing images of campfire tales over Viv E’s throbbing bass lines with noodling overtones. As with many other aspects, Sara Jean lets herself go into high pitched yelps as the song gets harder and harder.

“Cherrie’s Red” is more indie than the other tunes, with a Slint-esque flow encompassing the sometimes-mellow sometimes-gritty piece. Marked by a sheer lack of dither, the beginning section of “Cherrie’s Red” brings Sara Jean’s vocals to the forefront over gentle drum taps and far spread guitar chords, in contrast to the intricately strummed noisy intro. The piece shifts between quiet, near-accapella verses and the Stooges’ early sloppiness. This works well for the song, accentuating the unorthodox structure of the piece. Unable to distinguish between verse and chorus, Broadtosser guides the curious listener to focus less on the sound itself and more so on what they’re saying.

“Poison No. 9” – my personal favorite – begins with a pristinely executed drum rhythm which Broadtosser builds upon with choppy guitar and a melancholy lead riff, reminiscent of slower AFI tunes. Guitarist/vocalist Sara Jean’s voice carries out lengthy poetic verse in a near croon before gaining a certain veracity in the chanting chorus. The sobbing guitar riff follows the chorus setting the tone for the next wispy verse; the pattern continues for two and a half minutes uninterrupted, when the song takes an abrupt turn, speeding up, becoming harder as the guitar goes from quiet strums to gritty power chords. Atypical backing vocals from Liz Ele – drummer – and Viv E – bassist – harmonizing to repeat “You know I won’t come back” before dropping out as the Sara Jean’s voice builds with the cars to a backbreaking crescendo, with distortion even grimier than before.

Broadtosser is, by far, one of the best groups I have reviewed for DOA. With Sara Jean’s eloquence, Liz Ele’s intricate drumming and Viv E’s expressionistic bass lines there is little to critique, leaving me waiting for more material from this bastion of the Chicago underground.