Fix It If You Hate It - The Riffbrokers
Originally published March 3, 2005
by Jedd Beaudoin
Roots-y rock that takes elements of Social Distortion and the Jayhawks and mashes them together with the likes of the Del-Lords and Del Fuegos and others in a refreshing and thoughtful mix that gives you plenty of hope for the future of rock 'n' roll. But The Riffbrokers is more than a really good band - it's a really good band that's managed to give us a really fine album.
Opening with a mildly Byrdslike track titled "The Horse On Your Shoulder Patch" and closing roughly 45-minutes later with the delicate but heartfelt late night frontroom afterthought "Reprise," Fix It If You Hate It doesn't overwhelm you the way that some albums try to do, rather it gently passes you from song to song, taking you on a gentle stroll round the block, introducing you to sites and characters and thrusting you into situations that you might miss on your own.
It helps that the outfit's main songwritter Nick Millward has such a good ear for detail, relating his experiences and observations in a fashion that calls to mind a much less panicked and bitter Elvis Costello (witness the title track) and it helps that the band's content to play refreshing but workmanlike rock 'n' roll that soothes and satisfies.
Fix It If You Hate It does have its moments of darkness - such as the Clash-inflected "I.E.D.," which chronciles the realities of war in an age that sometimes makes military conflict seem like an elaborate video game - but light or dark this record serves as an important portrait of what it's like to be alive in our time.
Fix It If You Hate It
Fortunately for the Riffbrokers and the rest of us, what they do ain't broke and don't need no fixin.' Led by gritty, gravel-voiced veteran singer-songwriter Nick
Millward, this strong sophomore effort is a rootsy, raw, melodic Americana collection that exudes the fervor and unbridled passion of a live performance. With guitarist
Eric Olson's sturdy, Stones-like inclinations, bassist Heather Burnett's understated backing vocals, Dustin Miller's rock solid backbeat, and guitarist/keyboardist
Johnny Sangster's intuitive counterpoint, the Riffbrokers
are an bottomless well of infectious harmonies rendered with nononsense bar band bravura.Millward spins torrid tales of a reallife gunshot wound ("Accident"),his grandfather's WWII experiences("I.E.D."), themes of addictionand recovery ("Break,""High"), and lonely pathos ("Deathof the 80s Arcades") with theworld-weary delivery of one who's been there and back. Akin to the darker sides of Elvis Costello,Lucinda Williams, Paul Westerberg
and vintage John Mellancamp, the Riffbrokers make feeling bad sound good...and then some.
-TOM SEMIOLI, Amplifier Magazine
Fix it if you hate it
With a name like the Riffbrokers, you can pretty much guess that you're gonna get a song-oriented band. And you'd be right, as the Seattle combo specializes in catchy, guitar-fueled tunes that perfectly straddle the worlds of American roots rock and Beatlesque power pop. Cuts like "Unbearable Afternoon," "Potholes" and "The Horse on Your Shoulder Patch" burst with hunky hooks and heartfelt melodies; frontman Nick Millward's gritty vox pack the perfect punch. Alliteration aside, the Riffbrokers are the kind of band of which people who equally love melody and guitars dream. -Michael Toland, www.highbias.com
The Riffbrokers deal in big, crunchy, twang-tinged rock that borrows from both classic and post-punk rock idioms. Led by the gruff voiced Nick Millward, this Seattle based band fly their sound like an unwieldy kite fighting a strong wind - holding on just enough despite the constant threat of snapping. That element adds an edge of excitement to this sonically charged recording produced by Seattle scenester Johnny Sangster, who in addition adds plenty of guitar and some keys. Tom Semioli of Amplifier details the record saying, "Millward spins torrid tales of a real-life gunshot wound ("Accident"), his grandfather's WWII experiences ("I.E.D."), themes of addiction and recovery ("Break", "High"), and lonely pathos ("Death Of The 80s Arcades") with the world-weary delivery of one who's been there and back." Fix It If You Hate It offers smart-roots rock that attempts to rehabilitate the spirit and succeeds without pretense. ---MILES OF MUSIC, 1/6/05
The Riffbrokers: Fix It If You Hate It
Nothing like straight ahead, good timin', honky tonk music. The Riffbrokers make you want to go right out and chug some beers, shoot some pool, and maybe get in a fight. Good old fashioned Hell Raisin music.*** -FALLEN ANGEL RADIO
PRESS RELEASE 10/04:
The Riffbrokers second album reflects an introspective period for recently rehabbed and sober frontman/songwriter Nick Millward. While staying true to the band's roots/pop sound (established in their 2003 debut mini-LP Your Superhero In That Bar), Fix it if you hate it mixes in more piano with the grinding and jangling guitars. Accident's bouncy melody belies the frightening account of Millward's real-life 1993 gunshot wound; Death Of The 80's Arcades, a mournful waltz, is a surprising departure from the Riffbrokers frequent forays into power pop. Millward turns the pages of his family ablum back six decades for the ballad Wyoming Boy, encapsulating his grandfather's harrowing WWII experience. IED fast forwards to the current war in Iraq. Second guitarist Eric Olson (also a rehab veteran) contributes High and Break with similar themes of recovery.
Producer Johnny Sangster (Makers, Briefs, Boss Martians, Mudhoney, etc.) also asserts his role as a crucial force to the sound, performing various instruments on several tracks.
On their just released second album, the Riffbrokers seem to hit a perfect mix of indie rock, power pop and roots rock. Their sound is almost like the Smithereens and Elvis Costello meets alt country. And like my favorite pair of Levi's, their music feels worn in and comfortable, yet still remains tough and rough around the edges. "Fix It If You Hate It" is packed full of catchy, yet twangy melodic rock. ....Dan Halligan, Tablet Magazine
"Confident 'n catchy effort from these Seattle rockers! Living up to their name, with loads of big riffy guitars punctuating each and every garage-soaked moment!"...Ray Giancetti, Kool Kat Music.
"One of the strongest root-pop albums of 2004 and Extremely Highly Recommended! ".....Bruce Brodeen, Not Lame Recordings
Sensationelle und sehr sympathische Band aus USA. Sie haben vor kurzem ihr drittes Album verÃ¶ffentlicht. Was soll ich sagen....fantastisch !! Alle drei CDs sind sehr empfehlenswert und Ã¼ber CD Baby zu beziehen. Unbedingt reinhÃ¶ren !......Frank Bohnenkamp, German citizen and rock aficionado
Check out the artist's website:
1. The Horse On Your Shoulder Patch
2. Fix It If You Hate It
5. No Mending
6. Wyoming Boy
9. Death of the 80s Arcades
10. Unbearable Afternoon