Although it took me a little while to discover it, I really enjoyed Broadcast's last album The Noise Made By People. As a whole, it sort of sounded like the work of a group who was figuring out their particular sound, but it worked for the most part and marked the group as ones to keep an eye on. With HaHa Sound, it feels like the group has finally come into their own, and I have to commend them for moving in a direction that's even more weird than I expected.
I compared the trio to both Laika and Pram in my review for their last album, and while some of that could still be said, Broadcast has carved out a weird little realm of all their own. It's one that fits perfectly with their Dali-esque dream sequence versus Rube Goldberg machine collage cover design. Although the music of the group has taken quite a few strides forward, it is also once again the voice of Trish Keenan that holds everything together. It's breathy, it's slightly detached, and it's wonderful against the slightly kooky backdrop of sounds that the group has created.
Upon hearing the first three tracks on the release, I was ready to move it straight up on my year-end list until it was perched near the top. "Coulour Me In" is a slightly twisted lullaby, with vocals by Keenan that don't really soar as much as weave through fantastic layers of backwards guitar, chimes, washes of noise, and malfunctioning electronics. "Pendulum" mixes in a purring rhythm alongside more sputtering electronics and warm layers of synths while the vocals literally fall into place like the songs namesake. "Before We Begin" drifts off into sort of a space-age lounge territory, but it takes things to the outer rings of the galaxy with a shimmering haze of synths and dual vocal tracks from Keenan.
Truth be told, there are only a very few weak spots on the album (like the minute-long lo-fi Add N To X-ish "Black Umbrellas") that don't really add anything to the release (but don't really take a whole lot away from it either. Dive in at random, and you're bound to hit great things. "Minim" is a strange little track of off-kilter buzzing keyboards and shakey basslines while "Oh How I Miss You" mixes vocals and swirling synths together for a one minute crescendo that leaves everything bleeding into the red. In the end, it's a great little album from a group who could have gone down a more trip-hop route, but have instead chosen to plow forward into a dense, slightly uneasy sonic world of their own.