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Brodka - Clashes

  • Written by  Ashley Stein

Brodka is a Polish alt-pop singer-songwriter who began her career as the winner of Polish Pop Idol in 2004. Her music, however, couldn’t be further from the usual mainstream pop that these winners tend to churn out. Every song on the appropriately named Clashes enters in to a different genre making each one unique in style and tone.

The opening track, 'Mirror Mirror', feels very experimental. The haunting, choral like vocals are still atmosphere created by what sounds like a glockenspiel has a very enchanting effect; the simplicity of it is almost startling. As the next song, 'Horses', begins you are transported to a whole different plane. The guitar has a distinct country feel and although the instrumentation is once again simple the song still feels fully rounded. The intricate and really quite beautiful steel guitar lead outro is a trait that is shared by all of the tracks in one way or another.

Some of the instrumentation is almost orchestral in that if there were no lyrics, the music alone could tell the story itself. 'Can’t Wait for War' is a perfect example of this. The trumpets, regimental drums and dull sound of children cheering in the background conjures up the image of a proud military procession marching forth to war; their pride creating an almost morbid sense of glory. 'Funeral' is similar in its atmosphere creating ability. The organ, tuned to sound like background music from an old horror movie, coupled with the slow drum beat and subtle thermion like noises brings to mind a funeral march. You imagine rain on cobbled streets, a black carriage with black horses, Victorian style mourners walking slowly behind. Brodka’s ability to feed this in to your imagination through her use of instrumentation is astounding.

It is, in fact, matched only by her ability to conquer any genre without disturbing the flow of the album. She rolls effortlessly through pop, country and even, punk rock near the end of the album. Her most interesting songs however are void of the typical factors through which genre is perceived. 'Holy Holes' and 'Haiti' both use tribal style vocals along with strange yet simple guitar riffs and a whole lot of organ. The latter puts the glockenspiel centre stage creating the atmosphere of a forest as she sings “Drink his fears so he can’t fear it/ eat his ears so he can’t hear it.” As many slightly disturbing images are brought to mind the outro pushes the creepy up a level as different voices sing “Just another Hungry Girl” as every instrument drops out, leaving the glockenspiel to finish what it started.

As the album draws to a close with 'Dreamstreamextreme', Brodka’s ethereal voice tells us to “Dream everything that’s dreamable” as fluttery piano and light trumpets create a minimalist lullaby; a brilliant and beautiful end to this incredible musical journey.

Clashes is available via Amazon & iTunes. 

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