Hearing Aide: Bump ‘Broken Fix’

One of the timeless dangers of cataloguing relationship woes through song is the risk of drowning in cringe-worthy cheesiness. Bump’s debut album Broken Fix is swimming in an industrial vat of artery-clogging Velveeta.  Released in October, the self produced album was recorded over the course of a week in an old barn in Cambridge, NY. Mixed by JJ Beck at Akin Studios and mastered by Larry DeVivo at Silvertone Mastering.

Formed in Saratoga Springs, cheesemongers Todd Pasternack (guitar), Angela Ford (bass), Gregory Nash (drums) and special guest Kirk Juhas (piano/B3) have formulated an almost unpalatable recipe over-salted with boring and predictable lyrics in a watered-down interpretation of Red Hot Chili Peppers. Any hope for attaining béchamel quality music on this album is melted by weak vocals.

The first track “Hello Again” serves up Pasternack’s whiney voice with Ford’s backup vocals adding more confusion than complexity to the laid-back rock flavor. He opens the song, “Hello again, did my text get through? And are we still friends, or did we lose that too? Just send me a picture of your broken heart, tell me once again we should never have started to care.” Predictability breeds familiarity, so despite the eye-roll inducing lyrics, many listeners can at least relate to their meaning.

“Wrecking Ball” opens with grungy guitar before Ford’s voice emerges, evoking a gentle Pocahontas quality that doesn’t support the musical tone reminiscent of “The General” by Dispatch. An alien-like mid-song lyrical breakdown is an intriguing experiment that seems out of character for the album as layers of Ford’s voice hauntingly echo each other.

In full Flight of the Concords fashion, “How Could You Go So Low” presents feathery falsetto and restrained instrumentation, emphasizing the exaggerated vocals. “Anymore” holds a promise of redemption with bluesy jazz instrumentation and whirling organ before the words “Just can’t maintain this lifestyle anymore/Will my spirit no longer fly? The wings are paralyzed,” interrupt the mystical instrumentals.

Key tracks: Wrecking Ball, How Could You Go So Low, Anymore