The Richmond, Virginia pop-punk band Broadside have been through some intense changes in their lives, and they are still alive to tell the tale on Into The Raging Sea. Lead vocalist Oliver Baxxter looked inward for inspiration on this latest chapter on his band’s journey to finding their own voice in the crowded punk scene. The themes of overcoming the odds, growing up, and finding inspiration for a “rebirth” of sorts are prevalent on this record. When asked about his plan for overcoming all of the past heartache and the current state of his life, Baxxter said, “From the very beginning, my attitude was: I don’t have shit to look forward to, and everything behind me is trash, so I’m going to make myself the hero of my own story. I’ve always known struggle. As I get older, it’s more mental than physical, but it’s always there.” By taking his own lumps and persevering through it all, Baxxter becomes an instantly relatable presence for the misplaced army of his followers. Into the Raging Sea is a sprawling collection of songs that teeter on the edge of epic proportions, and every now and then Broadside meet their lofty goals on this expansive record.
Baxxter prefaces his approach to the album by speaking directly to his audience on the first track, “The Raging Sea,” as he sings, “36 minutes of your time / Please just let me just change your mind / If I sang the right words would you decide / To stay, please stay.” It makes for a powerful opener, and helps set the tone for the material that follows. The first single, “Foolish Believer” showcases what Broadside is able to create when they are clicking on all cylinders. Guitarist Domenic Reid and drummer Jeff Nichols stand out on this great song with some fantastic musicianship to allow for Baxxter to sing melodically over the music.
Other songs like the radio-ready “Nights Alone” display Broadside’s pop sensibilities in crafting tracks that have a strong message, and are still catchy as hell. Baxxter outlines his quest for love when he sings on the chorus, “We lost control, undressing to the radio / So let’s pretend we’re not in love / So we can fall in love tonight / Cause you make me feel so alive / You take me out of my mind.” These feelings of new love continue in other songs such as “Dancing on the Ceiling (With You),” and especially on the romantic “Breathe You In.”
By the time you come to the album closer, “Burning at Both Ends” it becomes clearer that Baxxter’s quest for purpose in his life is far from over, yet it’s easy to root for his fulfillment. The piano-based track makes for a hauntingly beautiful final moment for Broadside to connect with their listeners. Baxxter makes amends with a lost friend as he sings on the closing notes, “And wherever this light may takes us in the end / And as hard as it is to admit / I forgive you / And I wish you the best.”
After a few spins of this record, it becomes even more apparent that Broadside has poured every inch of their souls into this album that hits its mark more often than not. By persevering through all of the past drama in their lives and still making it out on top, the band has made a clear and concise musical statement of being a beacon of light guiding them out of the darkest times. For now, that should be enough leverage for the band to reconnect with their audience and blaze a clear path forward as they progress in their career.