Sarah Borges & The Broken Singles Unleash Joyous Rock n’ Roll on ‘Love’s Middle Name’ (ALBUM REVIEW)


Boston’s Sarah Borges & The Broken Singles reunite with producer and guitarist Eric “Roscoe” Ambel to let loose with their patented, fiery brand of rock n’ roll. Borges has been on the scene for over a decade now as a bandleader, solo act, and now bandleader again. She’s made seven records, tours relentlessly, and has racked up numerous awards and even some TV show credits. The hard-charging, formerly hard-living Borges just turned 40, having been married, divorced, become a mother and gone sober in the last few years. Love’s Middle Name heralds her next chapter.

Still, the music industry doesn’t know what to make of her. With the need to label, slot and categorize artists, Borges has run the gamut from Americana to roots rocker to cowpunk to the next Sheryl Crow-like pop act. Punk rocker would fit too. Borges can be all these things and more. Her unbridled energy, grit, willingness to get down and dirty, even with the travails of less than glamorous travel, make her a true rock n’ roll road warrior.  She’s a no-nonsense, let-it-all-go stage demon who writes character-driven songs and delivers them loudly, passionately, and often unforgettably.

This is her third album with The Broken Singles and has seven songs either written or co-written by Borges. The opener “House on a Hill” is a lament for an ex-lover and the home they once shared, done not as a ballad, but a flat-out rocker with a chorus, pulsating drum beat and raging guitars. “Lucky Rocks” amps it up even further as Borges sings seductively – “Lay here down with me for a while/Tell me a story or a secret/Tell me a lie.”  She takes her foot off the pedal for “Oh Victoria” before revving up again on the Stones-like “Let Me Try It” and the next two tracks before slowing down again for the reflective “Grow Wings,” posing the rhetorical “This world is too big for small voices, someone like me singing into the wind, what difference can I be?”

A clear standout is the thrashing “Headed Down Tonight” where she mischievously dares her partner to follow her into the woods, casually warning “Watch your step, you know I wouldn’t want you to get hurt.” She ends with a cover tune, “I Can’t Change It,” a mid-tempo contemplative track perfectly suited to her immutable need to unabashedly channel sex, love and rock n ’roll, having fun along with her bandmates.

Ambel proves to be the perfect partner here. He was the founding guitarist for Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, a member of the Bottle Rockets, Steve Earle & The Dukes, and producer for many acts. He also plays the screaming leads on most tracks. AS Borges says, “Roscoe has zero interest in fancy. He likes to capture the best in its tracks. That suits me just fine. Life isn’t a dress rehearsal, so let’s get on with and melt some faces already.”

This is indeed free of frills or tricks. Borges is not at all hard to figure out here. Let it rock.

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