Sophie & the Broken Things Conjure Timeless Alt-country Sounds on Debut LP ‘Delusions of Grandeur’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

Photo credit: Laura Partain

Sophie and The Broken Things is an alt-country band from Nashville that is relatively new. Its only release is an eponymous EP released in 2020. Still, that was enough to establish the band as one that creates warm and memorable alt-country songs. Sophie Gault chose the name of the band as a tribute to Julie Miller’s song “Broken Things” after meeting Miller at Bobby’s Idle Hour.

While tracking the songs for the new album Delusions of Grandeur, Gault gained the attention of producer Ray Kennedy. Kennedy advised the band throughout the recording and mixed and mastered the album. Of the songs, Kennedy said, “Sophie’s songs have a cozy familiarity with a feeling reminiscent of some of my favorite records from the ’70s: timeless yet new, with an emotional delivery I don’t hear in other contemporary records .” It doesn’t take long to notice that he’s right about the familiarity.

The pandemic has caused everyone, not just artists, to reflect on our lives and our place in the world. “Feel Better” is something of an anthem for that state of mind. She sings, “Hey baby, can you tell me that this night’ll never stop? The sand in the hourglass is stuck at the top. Hey honey, can you lie and say the wine’s not running out? It’d make me feel better somehow.” And you realize that, in four simple sentences, she has encapsulated what a lot of us have felt in the last couple of years.

The duet has long been a staple on country albums, and this album features a good one entitled “Trouble” with Logan Ledger. This is an easygoing song that is part acceptance and part lamentation for the status of a relationship. At the beginning of the song, Gault sings, “ You didn’t want me around.” That is countered in the chorus with the line, “You, me, and trouble, we fit together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.”  One thing is certain. You won’t find many prettier songs about a seemingly toxic relationship.

The melodies throughout the album are reminiscent of Drag the River. They are rock songs with a heavy infusion of twang, and “Heavy Metal” is a good example. The beat isn’t exactly a heavy metal one, but it does propel the song as a beat should. There is plenty of distortion in the guitar as Gault sings about how she’s in the mood for heavy metal that is in her soul. At the same, time there is a distinct twang running through the song. You can also hear a significant psychedelic aspect like in the spacey guitar at the end of “Golden Rule”. 

Gault ties the melodies together with her vocals that bring Sarah Borges to mind. It is a voice that is good for singing songs filled with longing and regret, but it’s more than that. You can tell that she really knows how to sing. Not only that, but you can tell that she would be just as good as the vocalist of a soul band with horns behind her.

Delusions of Grandeur by Sophie and The Broken Things is a solid Americana album. Even if this is your introduction to the band, the music is familiar and comforting. It’s likely to transport you back to some of your favorite haunts (that were more like second homes) for seeing some of your favorite bands that seemed like a secret outside of your group of friends.

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