Originally hailing from Richmond, Virginia, Broadside has relocated to Los Angeles and seems to have taken the environment to heart. For Paradise, the band teamed up again with producer Kyle Black (New Found Glory, All Time Low), and has spent the last couple years since their debut, Old Bones (2015), relentlessly touring and gathering accolades. From being named “Musician of the Month” in April 2017 by Alternative Press to being named “Best International Newcomer” by Rock Sound, to having Paradise being named as “One of 2017’s Most Anticipated albums” by AP and gathering fans at Warped Tour in 2016, the band has certainly demonstrated the appeal of their sound to audiences and critics alike. The band traces their roots back to 2010 and released a 5 song ep in 2011 that was re-recorded and expanded in 2012 for an independent release before they recruited current lead vocalist Ollie Baxxter in 2013. Add in some touring and then signing to Victory Records and the band released their debut album Old Bones in 2015 which was followed up by the aforementioned Warped Tour and acclaim.
From the very first track, Paradise sounds very much like any other cheery, poppy punk album you may have heard in summers past. Upbeat, bright rhythms and vocals characterize the opening track “Hidden Colors”, which is an ode dedicated to the women in the band member’s lives and how important they have been and are to them. Ollie Baxxter’s vocals are a perfect fit for the genre, clean and smooth and normally staying very far from any raggedness found in regular punk rock. Add in some slower sections where one can picture him on the edge of the stage crooning to audience members and one can understand where this album is headed.
As the album moves on, surprises are few and far between. This is Southern California pop punk like one would expect. Production is spotless and instruments and vocals perfectly mixed to emphasize the guitar-driven riffs but at the same time making sure the bright vocals and group backing vocals/shouts come through with equal weight. For the most part, the rhythm section carries things along very nicely in a supporting role, however, Pat Diaz’s bass does gain a bit more prominence in songs like “Lose Your Way” and “Miss Imperious” where the normal drum only sections have some bass lines filling in the gaps.
The band does go in some different directions, so it’s not all standard pop punk. The moody “Laps Around a Picture Frame” incorporates some keyboard elements, while “Summer Stained” makes extensive use of a stripped down sound and closing “I Love You I Love You It’s Disgusting” features just ukulele and vocals as it tries to not seem so gimmicky.
Those departures aside, this is a very well-balanced pop punk album. Nearly all of the expected clichés for the genre can be ticked off but the album itself doesn’t have that feel to it. The songs carry and convey a lot of energy and good cheer that one wants and expects and the quality of the arrangements and performances separate the album from many of its peers.
Written by John Jackson
1. Hidden Colors
3. Lose Your Way
5. Laps Around A Picture Frame
6. Who Cares
7. Tunnel Vision
8. Summer Stained
9. Miss Imperius
10. Puzzle Pieces
11. I Love You. I Love You. It’s Disgusting
Ollie Baxxter – Vocals
Niles Gibbs – Guitar / Vocals
Dorian Cooke – Guitar / Vocals
Pat Diaz – Bass
Record Label: Victory Records, June 2017
Video for ‘Hidden Colors’
Video for ‘Paradise’
Video (audio) for ‘Laps Around a Picture Frame’