Broken Water – Wrought – 2015


Karl Blau–prolific songwriter from Anacortes WA–made a cool album a few years ago wherein he played grunge versions of songs written by women who influence him. He covered songs by a lot of my favorites–heroes of the pacific-northwest K-Records scene that a young southeastern sun-sickened boy like me mythologized–Mirah, Jean Smith of Mecca Normal, Lois Maffeo, Laura Veirs, Khaela Maricich of The Blow, and Ashley Eriksson of Lake. One songwriter I didn’t recognize was Konako Pooknyw (who sometimes credits herself reversely as “Wynkoop”) of Olympia WA bands Sisters and Broken Water. Her song “Michael Row” leads off Blau’s album, a testament to her place in a newer Olympia mythology.

Though Broken Water’s discography stretches back over five years, Wrought is their first new release since I learned about them. And what an entry point it is. Wrought finds Pooknyw trading off songs with collaborator Jon Hanna, creating a whirlpool of murky, kelp-entangled rock. The trade-off powers the album through at an excellent pace. Hanna’s voice reverberates between Lou Barlow and Bob Mould; Pooknyw’s hits closer to Doug Martsch’s slippery heaviness. Even within many of Wrought‘s songs, there’s a vacillation between noisy and sugary messes–earthquake begetting tidal wave. This collection is not to be missed. Accessible doses of pop destruction are great to come by.

Psycho Static

Find the LP on Midheaven, the digital from Amazon and iTunes, and the rest of Broken Water’s catalogue on their bandcamp.

Author: Mike Ostrov

Mike Ostrov relays the history of popular song on message boards and under rocks.