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MP3 The Riffbrokers - Your Superhero In That Bar

catchy power pop jangly and gritty guitars, melody and hooks with growling vocals

8 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Americana, POP: Beatles-pop

"Imagine you need to buy a meaty riff. Well of course you''d pay a call at the offices of the power-pop trio The Riffbrokers.....these folks are a no bones about it straightforward riffing group, with loud but not too heavy guitars....Nick Millward writes snappy tunes and snarls them just right, in an Elvis Costello kind of way(only his voice is darker)....-Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover #52

https://www.tradebit.com Your Superhero In That Bar THE RIFFBROKERS

reviewed by fin

The Riffbrokers'' record Your Superhero in That Bar takes a refreshing approach to power pop. Their sound is decidedly infused with a southern twang, not country, but humidity and Budweiser in a bar at 2 am. Nick Millward, the Riffbrokers'' chief broker, sells sass and defeat like self-esteem interest rates are at an all time low. His Mason-Dixie grit drys up the vocals and guitars alike, yet he wisely recognizes the need to offset the sour with plenty of pop sweet. "Remind Me To" exemplifies a concoction of over-driven, searing guitars, Elvis (Costello, not Presley) vocals with smooth bass lines, chime-y organs, and enough pop sensibilities to take the ''Brokers to the bank. "Hatchet Heart" and "Parking Fine" are immediately listenable, four-on-the-dirty-floor, power chord masterpieces. Hidden in the mix are ooo-aaa''s, tambourines, and female back-up vocals that further build on the Riffbrokers'' auditory dichotomy.

At first listen the music feels a bit dumb in an underachiever sort of way, as if Millward were a PhD working at a drive thru. But Millward knows the trick is that although the best power pop sounds as if it were built on a foundation of dumb-guy guitar and predictably solid rhythm, constructing a memorable power pop song requires an innovative ear for what shouldn''t work. "Eighty-sixed" is an example of the Riffbrokers attempting to slip one by the listener. Nearly the entire song is built around a few chords, up-tempo and jangly until the last 20 seconds when the song suddenly shifts into a waltz beat with a forlorn cello moving like an ocean swell across acoustic guitars. It''s a barely noticeable shift that works perfectly as a divider between songs that might bleed together otherwise and serves as evidence that much more is going on with the Riffbrokers that mere riffs.

"Stockton Gala Days" ends on an awkward slow down and off chord that conventionally wouldn''t be there. But here in lies the magic of a songwriter (editor''s note - this song wasn''t written by the Riffbrokers, but by the 10,000 Maniacs team) like Millward: his songs work because he incorporates elements from a variety of regions and genres without losing the straight-ahead motion of a solid power pop record. When the all-out guitar/organ medley at the end of "Attractive Nuisance" slowly fades to an uncomfortable silence, it''s that rare moment when a record ends and you wish it would continue.

Currently residing in Seattle, this trio has a great sense for weaving modern rock styles into a furious musical machine. ''Parking Fine'' has the feel of Elvis Costello with a bit of Cheap Trick''s harder riffing. ''Eighty Sixed'' turns more towards brit poppers like Billy Bragg with a touch of a heartlland feel. In spite of the various influences they funnel it into a signature vibe with a proper balance of gritty guitars and more tempered power folk feelings conveying vocals that do seem like they would be more comfortable in London. -Mark Waterbury, Music Morsels

The Riffbrokers play bar-friendly rockunroll. The Seattle trio wears its blue-collars proudly, singing songs of the working class encased in a slightly twangy power pop style with a hint of Elvis Costello''s "Get Happy" era blue-eyed Motown fixation, made quite apparent on their first EP produced by Jonny Sangster. -Kelly Minnis, https://www.tradebit.com

The Riffbrokers'' sound these days is leaning toward Nick Lowe era Costello mixed in with Byrds jangle. Some people are reminded of The Replacements, although I can''t claim them as an influence. I kinda think we sound like Blue Rodeo sometimes. I''m tryin'' to be like The Beatles, Dylan, Stones, or John Prine, but the songs are gonna sound how they''re gonna sound. The stuff we''ve recorded so far reflects what we wanted to get across , from singer-songwriter Americana to Stax Volt soul. If we can get a hook and a decent melody out of a few guitars and an old drumkit, then we''re doin'' alright.
-Nick Millward, The Riffbrokers

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