Canadian music collective, Broken Social Scene have their 5th full-length release, Forgiveness Rock Record due out May 4th (leaked much earlier) and have honed and elevated their sound under the production direction of John McEntire. They have a revolving cast of talent to help flush out their giant sound. At any moment BSS can have as few as 6 members or as many as 790 (somewhere around there). Although the music is meant to be lush and grand, at times the “too many cooks” approach seemed to distract from the great song at the core of the composition. McEntire’s work on Forgiveness Rock Record seems to have blended the multi-tier talent pool into a more cohesive musical experience.
“World Sick” opens up the album with gentle, ambient pop like you would expect from BSS, but more focused, even if the song is nearly seven minutes long. The delicate feeling intro gently builds until the song fades back to a soft hum. The feeling of a “collective” moves to the forefront in “Chase Scene” an eighties style dance song that sounds like it could be blasting from the library of Shermer High School while kids in detention dance. The song embraces all the elements of the band with multiple percussion instruments, synth, strings, dueling guitars and harmonized vocals.
Forgiveness parades genres and instrumentation back and forth from song to song. The sadly sweet “All to All” is a total 80′s electronic pop track with heavy synth and drum machines while “Art House Director” flaunts stacks of saxophones and “Highway Slipper Jam” uses whistling, strings, and slide guitar among other things to lend a touch of country to the ambient layers of breezy pop. “Meet me in the Basement” adds a climactic instrumental just past the midway point while “Sweetest Kill” offers a cool BSS interpretation of Chill Wave.
Broken Social Scene creates another lush and creative “indie” rock album with subtle twists and turns from track to track that lean from dance to art house to rock n roll and back. On Forgiveness, the sum of the various talented parts come together to support and bolster each other with elegance instead of repelling each other in a chaotic din.
Written for REAX Online April 27, 2010