“There’s an abundance of strong material on the records, which feature glam tracks, new romantic-style synth-pop, string-enriched ballads, and straight-up rockers. His baritone is reminiscent of David Bowie, Scott Walker, Nick Cave, and, notably, Bryan Ferry, but has its own distinct flavor.” – Dangerous Minds
Since Ensign Broderick made his solo debut with Feast of Panthers in March, the Toronto-based pianist/composer has released three additional full-length albums, including Beauty Nor Ashes, Ranger and Only Love Remains. Only Love Remains, out today, is the fourth and final archival album to be released before a new album arrives this fall.
Interrelated and intertwined, these offerings explore concept and process. Only Love Remains, which delves deep into new wave and glam rock references and self-referential interpretations, hits the ground running with the acceleration of “Gasloud,” which hurtles into the funky R&B squiggle of the lush and louche romance of “Roomful of Flowers.”
Ensign Broderick has pointed to “Rough Bells,” as one of the quintessential tracks from the first forty years of his output, and as the dark bass gives way to sax-punctuated swagger, the vast panorama of Ensign Broderick’s influences, from opera to new wave, anime to runway couture, come sharply into focus. The song later appears as a stern and metallic instrumental scaffolding in “Four Bells X,” a reinterpretation that also epitomizes Ensign Broderick’s transmutational approach.
The artist’s tendency to remake songs is also on display in the valium-laced pace of “A Slow Drip,” which calms the breakneck glam of the original 1972 version, “Blinded By My Own Mascara,” found on the album Ranger. Only Love Remains also dips and swoops through rock boogie-woogie and proto emo balladry to conclude with “There A Train,” a languid, woozy and open-ended song that draws listeners back into the Ensign Broderick labyrinth.
Ensign Broderick’s aesthetic – high concept, high art and high fashion – has brought his music into the orbits of many noteworthy collaborators, from auteur filmmaker Guy Maddin to internationally renowned visual artist Kris Knight, and to Winnipeg’s New Music Festival, headlined by Philip Glass. Before launching a solo career, Ensign Broderick performed and recorded for decades in Toronto with a staggering number of artists, a list that includes Rush, Art Bergmann, Catherine Wheel and more.
Watch Ensign Broderick perform “Summer Snow,” from the album Feast of Panthers, live in Toronto.
Dangerous Minds Q&A: In which Ensign Broderick discusses Hopalong Cassidy, Tapco mixers and building his first drum kit piece by piece. Read here.
Accidence Behind-the-Scenes: In which Guy Maddin and Ensign Broderick discuss balconies, dream sequences and eccentricity. Watch here.
Guide to Glam: In which Ensign Broderick loads up a playlist with Glam Rock’s influences and essentials. Listen here.