As seen throughout the history of the world, destruction and mourning often birth inspiration and creative representations of tough emotions. Indie-rock trio Populuxe are a 70’s-pop-tinged example of just that.
The story behind Populuxe‘s latest 19-track LP Beauty in the Broken Place was conceived from the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre on October 27, 2018, when Shabbat morning services were interrupted by a terrorist assault, resulting in 11 dead and 7 injured.
“I did my best to ride the biggest wave I ever caught.” – Rob Shapiro
Beauty in the Broken Place begins with track “Enter”, featuring a slow organ entrance over deeply somber synagogue bells tolling in the distance. The LP exemplifies the Western cultural crisis with dynamic and smooth tracks like “Little Lambs, Regular Guys” and “Marchers”, graciously swimming through influence from Curtis Mayfield, Sly Stone, and Led Zeppelin.
“It’s an event that clearly has much broader implications,” band Spearhead Rob Shapiro reflects. “The massacre hit me hard, and I was incredibly moved when people congregated in Prospect Park that night and spontaneously sang Kaddish (the Jewish prayer of mourning.) That was the moment when the title sort of announced itself to me (“beauty in the broken place”), and within hours I started writing, and then the material and arc just started to pour out. I did my best to ride the biggest wave I ever caught.”
Shapiro (an award-winning narrator and voice actor as well), is joined by Berklee School-trained bassist Mike Mallory and international drummer/percussionist Mark Pardy – a first-call drummer for major theater tours (with endorsements from Sabian cymbals and signature ProMark sticks). They form the tight-knit and deftly musical sound that has defined the band for over a decade.