Recommended if you like Yo La Tengo, Feist, Spoon

Expectation: Broken Social Scene is a ~27-piece music collective consisting of members from bands such as Feist, Metric, Apostle of Hustle, and many others. Their sound is often described as baroque pop, but this band is very difficult to label due to its eclectic catalog of music that combines the sounds of each of the members’ individual projects. This album is their first major release in seven years.

TRACK-BY-TRACK

  • Sol Luna – A really cool atmospheric intro that sets the stage for what’s to come.
  • Halfway Home – This song is really energetic, exciting, and absolutely packed with delicious guitar melodies and tasteful mixing. Combined with “Sol Luna”, this song is very likely to hook you into the album.
  • Protest Song – Carried by the momentum of the previous track, this song keeps the energy alive with vibrant guitar riffs, wordy hooks, and a dynamic structure that gives the song room to breathe.
  • Skyline – This song is much more mellow than the previous two tracks, but still retains their sweetness. It includes expansive synth structures, spacey acoustic guitar, and a super fun breakdown.
  • Stay Happy – The bass makes this song, but it’s definitely not the only thing it has going for it. This song utilizes orchestral synths that combine B.S.S.’s signature baroque sound with a groovy beat.
  • Vanity Pail Kids – This is probably my least favorite song on the album, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good. This song is much more intense and “in-your-face” than the previous tracks, but its layered vocals and incredible beat make up for the change in tone.
  • Hug of Thunder – This is my absolute favorite song on the album. The song starts with a very quiet and minimal combination of bass, a simple electronic beat, and occasional reverbed guitar notes that, with the singer’s calming voice, make the gradual evolution of the song into a captivating chorus that much more rewarding.
  • Towers And Masons – This song conveys a hypnotic tone by utilizing dual clean guitars, baroque instruments, and spacey keyboards.
  • Victim Lover – This song combines a jazzy bassline with composition that sounds like a song cut from the latter half of Kid A. Utilizing the twenty-seven people in the  band, B.S.S. is able to use their background voices as instruments to add more to the memorable atmosphere of this song.
  • Please Take Me With You – Combining a rich, relaxing bassline, hypnotic synth, and nostalgic guitars with a complex drum beat, this song serves as one of the emotional cores of the album.
  • Gonna Get Better – The production of this song is very well-done, but the repetitive vocals and lack of focus that made the previous four songs so strong makes this song fall flat.
  • Mouth Guards Of The Apocalypse – This could honestly qualify as two songs. The first half is an interesting experimental instrumental that gradually gets more and more strange, but once it transitions into the second half, the song gains unrelenting energy and passion, only to be one-upped by the cathartic ending packed with brass, loud bass synth, and the tone of an epic parade leaving town forever.

Overall: It’s rare for a band of so many musicians to be able to create such a cohesive work that feels huge and expansive while at the same time has a sense of intimacy. Broken Social Scene succeeds in both of these. If you like indie rock, indie pop, or orchestral music, then this album will definitely have something for you. Going into it, I hadn’t heard anything by this band, and was daunted by the thought that so many people were in it. However, after listening to Hug of Thunder, I realized that, although mildly forgettable, what makes this band special is not the size of their lineup, but the size of their passion, enthusiasm, and creativity that they put into their work.

Score: 7/10

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