Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record (City Slang)

May 17, 2010 by  

It’s been a long five years since their last release, so a sprawling six minute fifty ‘World Sick’ is an ideal curtain opener and reminder of who Broken Social Scene were. The Canadian collective are still the expansive indie rock group of yesteryear, and are back with their fourth long player ‘Forgiveness Rock Record’.

As reminders go, ‘World Sick’, with its jerky guitar melody, uplifting drums and a slow but necessary build, is indeed a cracking return, yet almost as good as it gets for a band with over-indulgence their recurring criticism.

Cutting down the collective to just seven (yes, just seven) you would have thought it would have tightened proceedings somewhat – however it’s given the remaining gaggle the go ahead to do more. Too much more. This may be down to production, but occasionally the cacophony is more a melee, and is just a bit much.

‘Chase Scene’ is much like the title suggests, but is uninteresting and unnecessary. ‘Forced To Love’ has hints of greatness in parts but overbearing with blips and screeches – and again like the title you’re left sensing that they really are forcing you to love it. Again ’All to All’ is like a bad remix of their own song, a great structure and some good ideas, but outweighed by noise. Lots of noise. And ‘Art House Director’ just sounds like an attempt at Paul Simon but sounds like a bad Go! Team track.

When toned down, and when focused, you can still hear the makings of another great rock record from BSS. The dreamy indie rock of ‘Texico Bitches’ is a driving success, or the moderately expansive yet relatively subdued funk in ‘Ungrateful Little Father’ is just the right side of OTT. And ‘Meet Me In The Bathroom’ is like a good version of this album’s very own ‘Art House Director’.

Broken Social Scene has always been lauded with praise for experimenting and their attempts of trying something more sonically uplifting or better than your bog standard indie fodder. But as much as they do to lift out of the Pigeon Detectives/Fratellis bracket, they’ve not done enough here to sit in the pantheons of Radiohead/Arcade Fire.

There is so much going on in this album, that 4 or 5 listens in you’re still not clear what. However the stripped bare, ‘Me & My Hand’ is a wonderful curtain call. It’s an M.Ward type ballad which sounds enjoyably longer than its two minutes, and it’s proof that for a band based on complexity, it’s their simplicity that shines.

[rating:3]


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