Broken DC - Astragal album review

Broken DC's noise and beauty from the mean streets of London.

Broken DC - Astragal album cover

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

Broken DC’s latest offering is almost too beautiful to have come from a city as brutal and relentless as London. There’s plenty of howling noise in their twin guitar work, sure, but it’s all presented with such poise and delicacy, you barely dare breathe for fear of destroying it. Sonically, they’re like a wonderful meeting between Slint, Mogwai, Disintegration-era Cure and Cocteau Twins, the ethereal, will o’ the wisp vocals of the latter mirrored in their most measured moments. And yet they’re very much their own band.

It’s an almost visual experience, which makes sense as Astragal takes its title from French-Algerian author Albertine Sarrazin’s novel of the same name, a celebration of rebellion, love and survival that inspired Patti Smith to become a musician. And so when a lonely violin keens on Namer Of Clouds, a wild, unpopulated landscape leaps into the imagination, while the sense of isolation deepens further on the desolate Forever Blue.

Hollow Tree, with its raspy, roughshod vocals, breaks off into shards of guitar that crash around the listener like
broken glass. This is post-rock at its smartest, revealing a little more with each listen.

Emma has been writing about music for 25 years, and is a regular contributor to Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog and Louder. During that time her words have also appeared in publications including Kerrang!, Melody Maker, Select, The Blues Magazine and many more. She is also a professional pedant and grammar nerd and has worked as a copy editor on everything from film titles through to high-end property magazines. In her spare time, when not at gigs, you’ll find her at her local stables hanging out with a bunch of extremely characterful horses.