Exceptionally unique and equally emotionally driven, the outstanding EP Panic from Austria’s Mary Broadcast sets the standard very high for what’s to come for indie/pop rock music in 2022. Comparable to a concept album (think American Idiot from Green Day), the six songs on Panic are labeled as episodes. The accompanying music videos cement the songs’ impact, leaving the listener (and viewer) an absolute compelling experience like no other. Where other songwriters and indie artists try to hook listeners with quirky tones or eccentricities, Broadcast excels at creating strong, sound songs that nearly levitate the listener into a wondrous, albeit, triggering world.
Like any great mixtape or as Adel recently went to bat with Spotify over the order of a playlist, the integrity of the listener’s experience is indeed communicated in the intended order. Episode 1, the title track, features a moving undercurrent that matches the euphoria of a relationship. The excitement of being in closed-quarters, of sharing a life together, especially if it means making a romantic meal in a kitchen. You know, everyday stuff. Broadcast’s voice is melodic and hypnotic. She is a siren in the night – a gripping reminder that a voice such as her is perfectly hovered over the electric guitar and rumbling percussion. I loved the echoes in her golden-laced voice. Broadcast has an interesting tenor and possesses both light and darkness when she sings. When it’s over, we will see the life we were fighting for, Broadcast sings. At this point in the listening journey, and not knowing the EP’s full backstory, listeners can take what they want with that particular line. One has to imagine these words feeling so real, so tangible through the lens of the worldwide pandemic. As much as I wanted to ignore this, and escape into the song’s deeper meaning, the isolation and the lockdowns (if you will) of the past few years infiltrated my senses and perspective. I don’t think Broadcast comprises her artistic integrity and literally takes the pandemic but it’s still the elephant-in-the-room.
I think what she instills in the listener, at this juncture in the storyline, is that love seems to be endless and life is beyond grand. You have to get through the other side to really understand that broader scope, she seems to say. Do relationships, no matter how strong the fire burns, have an expiration date?
Episode 2 is called “Zone 4”. In the video, the female protagonist participates in a viral dance, and submits to the masses a fun and lively scene. All seems sincere and innocent. The encouraging comments rack up on the screen in a flurry of likes and thumbs up – as does the protagonist’s smiles and confident disposition. Broadcast’s voice sways into a poppy, bouncing beat singing it’s you, you on the screen. The viewer quickly discovers the other side of social media fame, with negativity and downright cruelty ensuing. Perhaps Broadcast is reminding us to not glean our self-worth from social media. And that there is a person on the other side of that screen.
Episode 3 “Bastille”, Episode 4 “Sing It” and Episode 5 “Bazar” are all up-tempo and feature clever guitar orchestrations. I just kept coming back to a feeling of light, of pure joy. Broadcast has pureness in her voice and she sings so natural. Finally, in the show-stopper, Episode six, “Aver” her world seems to come crashing down. In her press materials, Broadcast shares that she suffered a miscarriage. That sorrow and solemn beauty is ever so displayed. Broadcast’s six songs in Panic are the epitome of setting the bar high.