Chaplin’s Cellar Bar, Boscombe

It’s a balmy night in Boscombe as The Cellar Bar plays host to two out-of-town acts. Headliners Broken Links make a long-awaited return to the town having played the legendary I-Bar way back when, early in their career. Continental Liaison are no strangers to these parts, coming from just across the Hampshire border. This trio plays a genre of music that even I would struggle to categorise, so for clarity, I will describe it as Art/Rock. They open with “Indigo” and set out their stall early. Bam (vox) has an unmistakable style, where he howls and makes noises almost liberally throughout. However, Gwyn is the star on keys/loops and all things electronic. They build their set gradually with “Contempra” next as Ryan (bass/guitars) makes his presence felt. As the set grows ever louder Bam’s vocals become almost inaudible. ‘Polarised’ takes the power up a notch somewhat while Bam’s vocals become lost in the wall of noise.

Continental Liaison
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On “Lucretia” his vocals finally push forward and take centre stage as Gwyn drops the tempo somewhat. And while lyrics are seemingly few and far between, he does have a definitive vocal style. Having seen the band a few times over the years I’m looking for some form of forward progression, but it all seems much of a muchness. However, the highest compliment I can pay them is that they sound like no one out there in the local (or National) scene. And that is where they have that point of difference. One cannot fault their attire and stage presence, I’m just looking for them to push on to the next level. Latterly Ryan takes the shapeshifting crown as his guitar/bass work comes to the fore, I just feel they need to add that killer track to elevate them to headliner status. They depart on “Life” to good applause.

So; Broken Links, back in Bournemouth after all these years. Our soundman “Mr. Connie” forgot a piece of equipment needed for the stage visuals, meaning a later start time for the bands. Problem rectified, Eastleigh’s finest take to the stage. They open with the brilliant ‘The Day called X’. Phil (drums) has his kit located in front of the stage to allow for the visuals to be beamed onto the backdrop. This means his drum hitting is somewhat louder down the front. It’s all too much for one disgruntled punter who tells Phil his drums are too loud, and offers his coat for the kick-drum. Phil is calmness personified, allows the guy his opinion before he takes aim at soundman Connie. Once this debacle passes we get on with the show! “Fatalism” comes next, which is rather apt as our punter will not let it go and starts ranting again. Connie explains the situation and suggests he listens from outside for the perfect volume?! Meanwhile Mark (vox/guitar) suggests our punter needs a duvet! Thankfully he retires upstairs and we get on with the show.

Broken Links
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Debacle averted the band continues with “Bounty Hunter” as Mark’s sample-led vocals come to the fore. Lewis’s bass tonight is huge and matches Phil’s fierce but precise hitting. But it’s on ‘Pioneers’ where his vocal really fills the room, there’s an overall fuller energy to his tones tonight. ‘Pioneers’ has that wonderful surround sound feel, an early highlight. ‘Within Isolation’ follows which sees Mark’s vocal layering tested to the limit. ‘T.T.O.’ opens with those now familiar shimmering guitars, amid more vocal layering aplenty. With such a sparse Thursday night crowd we can fully embrace a band at their wholesome best as they fill this small basement club with a terrific wall of sound. ‘Shelter Your Loss’ takes the tempo down somewhat, before exploding into life while “Cold War” never sounded so appropriate in the current climate. The mesmerizing, scratchy; effects-fed sample intro is truly haunting as Mark’s vocal takes a more menacing onslaught. Lewis continues to remain chief shapeshifter for the night while the ‘middle eight’ allows Phil some respite, but this track is such a grower, tonight’s set highlight. “Blood On The Motorway” sees a welcome return to the set list before they take the plaudits; praise the venue and sound, while thanking us the punters for our attendance. They end a near perfect set with “Replicas” and one hopes they don’t leave it so long before they next venture (South) West!

Set Lists
Broken Links
The Day called X
Bounty Hunter
Within Isolation
Shelter Your Loss
Cold War
Blood on the Motorway

Continental Liason
Digital Mind
Kiss It



Review, Media and Pictures by Ross A. Ferrone.

Broken Links