Broken Water are intentional about their aggression. Their upcoming record, Wrought, works in bright dream punk and twangy, textured riffs; patches of droning distorted guitars that build and crash thoughtfully. “What is right? Is there a wrong? All I know is I do not know,” sings drummer Kanako Pooknyw on “High Lo,” the record’s huge opening track. “I can barely cope … Life, oh it’s only life.” It’s one of the small glimpses into Wrought they’ve offered so far, along with a video for “Love and Poverty“, a meditative, mid-tempo song that works through a mind thread about capitalism, inequality, and misplaced blame: “There is no need for this scarcity / scapegoats for the police state over petty theft / yet we trust the dollar bill and uniforms with guns?”
These sorts of uncompromising, politically-engaged ideas (ones that point question marks inwardly and outwardly in equal measure) read like they’re meant to be conveyed in all-caps hardcore, but Broken Water are more careful. When palpable rage does come out, it’s in quick bursts like “Wasted”, a two-minute interrogation of general thoughtlessness, shallowness, naivete: “You’ve got somethin’ to say? Come on blow me away!” guitarists Jon Hanna offers in a rough, spoken-word shout. “Wasted time, take a chance … Imitate the shit you hate.” It’s the second track from Wrought, which is out March 24 on Night People.