It’s been seven years since No Broadcast ’s last album, ‘The Blueprint’, but ‘Lie In Orbit’ makes it immediately evident that they haven’t been sitting idly by.
This new release is the most ambitious undertaking of the alternative rock act to date, and the meticulous care that went into it can clearly be heard, from the overarching structure of the album to the detailed instrumentation, the expertly-written compositional elements to the breathtaking performances.
No Broadcast have variously been described as post-rock, alternative rock and indie rock, but none of those labels accurately describe the breadth of sound they achieve. There are snatches of the band’s influences to be heard: some Radiohead here, perhaps some Porcupine Tree there, a dash of Kiwi garage rock… but the band combines and smashes these different sounds together in such a way that the moment your ears grasp onto something familiar, it’s been whipped away and warped into something new.
And that isn’t to say that No Broadcast’s music is simply a mishmash of different styles. No, there is an unmistakable sound that runs through all their music, a spacious grandiosity, provided partly by the massive, reverb-heavy production, but even more so by the talent of the players: the incredible torrent of psychedelic guitar noise that whirls in a maelstrom around the listener; the constant, unrelenting rhythm section always right there behind it; and the confident, passionate lead vocals, which, although more prominent here than on previous albums, still mostly occupy a place far back in the soundstage, sometimes disappearing altogether.
‘Lie In Orbit’ seems to be broken into two suites, each following the same upward trajectory. Away opens things on a dreamy, low-key, pleasant note, the closest this album has to a pop song. In Reprise it is extended out into a more meditative, purely instrumental jam that gradually builds up into the aggressive, powerful Crushed To Fit and the soul-crushing, noisy first half climax, In The Box.
The energy then drops back down to begin the cycle again, this time culminating with the mighty breakdown at the pinnacle of On The Fence, with the tribal, percussive Potent closing out the album. Despite it being a fantastic track containing its own satisfying build-up and climax, Potent does feel a little tacked on, disconnected as it is from the two-part odyssey that shapes the rest of the album.
The No Broadcast collective for this release includes Sam Hood, Chris Self, David Webber, Kieran Colina, Shaun Burke, Tom Harris, Hunter Jackson, Thomas Isbister, Mathias Dowle, Ryan Ferris and Josh Braden.
With 15+ years and a reasonable number of releases under their belt, No Broadcast have crafted a strong niche for themselves and honed their sound to perfection. Although there are gems throughout their discography, ‘Lie In Orbit’ stands above the rest due to the care put into sculpting this album into a single, spellbinding journey, resulting in a more cohesive result.
Summarising this project in a short review barely does it justice. There is a plethora of layers and details to unpack, and more and more reveal themselves on repeat listens. Seek it out, play it loud from start to finish and witness the majesty of the experience.