Stop Looking At Me
Broken Home was formed in 1979 by Dicken and Pete Crowther both formerly of Mr Big. Mr Big had broken up the year before when EMI decided not to release their third album ‘Seppuku’ (although it was finally released by Angel Air in 2001).
With Rory Willson and Pete Barnacle they attracted the attention of one Robert John (Mutt) Lange who agreed to produce their upcoming debut album (his credits included Boomtown Rats, AC/DC and Graham Parker). They were ready to roll and by the end of 1979 Dicken had written about a dozen songs. During the early months of 1980 they started working on the album under Mutt Lange’s guidance.
The resulting album was well received on the Continent (especially Norway and Germany) when it was released in June 1980. The band made numerous live appearances to support the album including an appearance (their last ever) at Reading Festival. Shortly afterward, Rory and then Pete Barnacle left and Broken Home were no more.
This CD is a must for fans of Mr Big and the work of Mutt Lange. The 12 page booklet features informative notes and unseen photos from Dickens’ personal archive.
Still, reflection and rumination, and sometimes religion, are never far from the album's agenda, yet while the six-strings-elevated, intimate detail in "Lovely Ann" - dedicated to Dicken's late love - feels bittersweet, the organ-anchored "Ship Without A Sail" has an optimistic angle to it, sharpened even more once "Summer It Won't Be Long" is streamed into a calypso-esque drift. With boogie bolstering the swagger of "Spirit" which would sound great on-stage, the melodic appeal zeal of "Fragments" couldn't be more irresistible - only a pop drive behind "Danger" will tie the individual and global aspects together. And this is only logical, because everything is fragile, and if we're careless, we're bound to be left with pitiful fragments, with BROKEN HOME's last album a testament to better times. ****
DMME.net (October 2018)
Broken Home were formed from the ashes of (the British) Mr. Big by DICKEN and they released 2 albums during the '80s: 'Broken Home' and 'Life'. After a very long wait the third album is now available. As well as Dicken, Broken Home comprises Eddie Carter, Paul Gibbons, Simon Saunders, Peter Crowther, Mike Higgins and Pete Barnacle.
Bev Bevan (October 2018)
"When You're Young" kicks things into gear, an almost 80s Americana feel melded with something much more stage-show in nature. It's a beautifully constructed piece of pop-rock and with a melody line that'll stay with you for a long time to come. However, the confusion of approaches comes thick and fast, with the howling "Rebel Children" much more of a rock strut and preen, even if, as is the case throughout, the lyrics are much more threatening and stark than the music might suggest.
...Each and every song possessing at least one aspect that truly catches the imagination, whether that be the bluesy shuffle scuffle of "Spirit", the jingle-jangle strum of "New Adventure" or the smooth slick 70s harmonies and vocals of album highlight "Turn All Your Troubles Into Highways"...if you're looking for sharp observational lyrics and equally sharp, if maybe slightly too diverse for its own good, pop rock, then you'll find much to delight you here.
Sea Of Tranquility (September 2018)
...the over-riding feeling is that there is massive talent here that maybe never realised full potential, whether due to musical climate or musical politics. 'Life' lacks 'Mutt' Lange's sheen but nevertheless all the ingredients of Dicken's art are in place. It will come as no surprise to learn that Mr Big supported Queen in 1975 at the peak of that band's seventies chart success. In many ways, there is a complementary link with the emphasis on catchy, guitar-driven pop rock here evidenced on the title track, 'Wake Up Mr Doctor' and 'Nobody'.
David Randall, www.getreadytorock.com (February 2004)
In many ways they continued where Mr Big left off, wonderful power pop with infectious melodies, a hard edge and Dicken's distinctive vocals and this album, first released in 1981, is the perfect example of what they were about...
Steve Ward, Classic Rock Society (March 2004)
...available now for the first time in more than two decades, and positively overflowing with bonus tracks. Eleven songs were drawn from sources as far apart as Mr. Big’s 1996 reunion Rainbow Bridge, and mid 1980s Dicken projects Peculiar People and Dicken. All, therefore, bear the vocalist’s so characteristic stamp, wrapping up the surprisingly superlative Life album with a swagger that makes you want to hear more. Thankfully, Angel Air have it – both Broken Home and Mr. Big’s earlier Seppuku are both also available through the label’s website.
Jo-Anne Greene, Goldmine (March 2004)
...Overall it isn't as strong as their debut but many of these numbers are rescued by Dicken's vocals...the CD contains more than enough evidence to ask why he dropped out of the spotlight...Another good value release from Angel Air.
Feedback (June 2004)
…very melodic heavy rock, with just enough pop sensibility to make the songs catchy…
Bernard Law, Classic Rock Society (March 2003)
A beautifully crafted record from Dicken of Mr Big…The future Mr Shania Twain - Robert 'Mutt' Lange - produced a great sounding record, which proves the missing link between the work he had done with the likes of the Boomtown Rats, AC/DC, the Outlaws and Graham Parker, and the work he would go on to do with Def Leppard and Bryan Adams…As ever, this Angel Air release comes with a well thought out and well-presented booklet…
East Anglian Daily Times (March 2003)
…a solid mix of period pop and hard rock…It all adds up to another well-packaged and enjoyable album from Angel Air
Joe Geesin, Record Collector (April 2003)
While it may not quite make it as a full-blown 'classic' it certainly stands up as an album that should have been hugely successful, and those who enjoy British Eighties melodic rock ought to seek this out. A very detailed booklet containing stacks of information completes the package…A definite goody.
Feedback (May 2003)
BROKEN HOME was formed in the late 1970s by former members of the UK band MR. BIG. Their debut album was produced by MUTT LANGE, who scored massive with his productions of DEF LEPPARD, AC/DC, BRYAN ADAMS, CITY BOY, HUEY LEWIS and SHANIA TWAIN (who is his beautiful wife). BROKEN HOMES didn’t reach that much success, but their first record was quite good actually. The album has now been re-issued onto CD by ANGEL AIR RECORDS.
10 tracks are included and musically it is pure late 1970s/early 1980s Mainstream AOR/Poprock, a bit quirky sometimes, reminding me of CHARLIE, CITY BOY and PHOENIX. Nevertheless, the CD features some great AOR songs, such as “No chance” (awesome!), “death of Gog”, “Run away from home: and “Jerusalem”, but also some poppier material. If you count CHARLIE and CITY BOY to your favourite acts, then this will also be up your alley! (7.5/10)
Strutter magazine (August 2003)