You can pretty much sum up Helena’s Broadband Shortwave by discussing one song: the title track from their new EP, which was released last month. “Lazy Atoms,” according to the band, was the sort of epiphany that kept the quartet together: When lead vocalist/guitarist Ryan Rebo tested it out during a recording session earlier this year, the band was so jazzed they laid down the track right then and there.
So what’s so special about “Lazy Atoms”? Not much, actually. It’s a sparse pop-rock song with a simple hook—“I tried to process your smile, I tried to process you/Is it a waste of my time to dream of you?”—and even simpler instrumentation. It just sort of ambles around, as the title suggests, lazily.
But the song signals a shift in the band’s sound that you can actually hear them wrestling with in the six-song EP. Two tracks are slower, sprawling soundscapes—think Coldplay at its mellowest, with Rebo doing a pretty decent Chris Martin-at-his-most-melancholy impression. Two other tracks are sped-up wannabe rockers, including “Shatterhead,” which has the unfortunate honor of showcasing the most straining off-key lead vocals I’ve heard in, maybe, forever. And then there’s “Lazy Atoms,” which finds a comfortable median between the two extremes. Here’s hoping Broadband Shortwave can keep their new sound between the lines. (Skylar Browning)
Broadband Shortwave plays The Loft Friday, Sept. 7, at 10 PM with Old Shoes. $4.