Broadband Shortwave – Lazy Atoms EP

Broadband Shortwave
Lazy Atoms EP

There are musicians who want to be in bands to make records, play shows, and (hopefully) gain some level of popularity. There are also musicians who never record a thing for public consumption, never play a show, and never get popular (how could they?) because they just play for the fun of playing – no strings or expectations attached. There are plenty of gray areas of course, but if you’re going to be a musician in a band that is recording and playing shows you may as well stick to your guns.

This is what I think about when listening to Broadband Shortwave’s EP Lazy Atoms. The Helena, Montana based band originally formed in 2001, released material in 2002 and 2003 and then broke up for at least three years before reforming and recording this disc at the very end of 2006. What were the members of the band doing all of those years? Playing with other outfits…not playing at all? I have to wonder.

Lazy Atoms revolves around dreamy pop-rock. The first four songs are slow numbers…rhythmic and soft, but pretty. The lyrics are artsy and the singer’s voice is subdued enough to mesh well with the sound Broadband Shortwave seems to be aiming for. “Space Real Estate” sounds a lot like a Dave Matthews Band slow jam – which is either a good or bad thing depending on how you feel about the DMB.

The last two songs, “Shatterhead” and “Technicolor”, are out of place right after these slower tunes. On “Shatterhead” the band shows an upbeat, funkier side that just straddles the fence of being a true rocker. “Technicolor” is even a bit more funky – eclectic even – but it’s missing that extra something to ratchet it up a level. With most bands I tend to enjoy the more upbeat songs over slower ones, but in the case of Broadband Shortwave the opposite is true.

The overall feeling I get fromLazy Atoms is unfocused. The slower, dreamier songs are quite enjoyable, but stacked up against the faster tunes it’s a somewhat confusing affair. I’d like to see the next album or two from this group as a better gauge of sound they’re going for and how much staying power they have as a band. Lazy Atoms isn’t going to win super high praise for excitement or innovation.