Broken Social Scene [Limited Edition] Limited Edition
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Broken Social Scene
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BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE Broken Social Scene (2006 UK Limited Edition 2-CD album set - the 3rd album from the Canadian Rock band including the single Ibi Dreams Of Pavement with vocal appearances from Feist K-Os & Emily Haines plus BONUS 7-trackEP EP To Be You And Me housed in a superb tri-fold digipak sleeve arguably the bands most diverse dynamic and creatively compelling work)
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Whereas the overcrowded, shape-shifting production was a principle factor of their last (great) record 'You Forgot it in People', on this record it entirely defines it. Songs and melodies slip in and out of focus, revealing little galaxies of blurred notes and voices beyond the principal 'song' structures, time-signatures trip and flip; at moments it sounds like you are stuck between stations on an analogue radio dial.
The album opens with a the jazzy, shimmering alt-rock of 'Our faces split the coast in half', with a moody Bernard Hermann-style brass section and half-submerged vocals that sound like something sampled for a DJ Shadow record. Picking up where 'Pacific Theme' left off on the last record, this is one of the best tracks for me. 'Ibi dreams of pavement (a better day)' is one of their more raucous moments while '7/4 (shoreline)' is this album's 'Almost Crimes', an anthemic, sonic crowd-pleaser with Leslie Feist at the helm.
'Finish your collapse and stay for breakfast' is electronic noodling while 'Major label debut' show their more twee indie sensibilities. 'Fire Eye'd Boy' is another one to satisfy the indie kids, a fine piece of pop-hookery, but then it gets more interesting. 'Windsurfing Nation' is an unusual rock / r'n'b hybrid centring around the repeated mantra 'All we want is freedom' and even includes a short rap at the end, to great effect. 'Hotel' is off-kilter downbeat r'n'b, a kind of tripped-out 'Lover's Rock' and the album's most singular moment. There are other moments of merit to mention, but some editing would not have hurt - in particular the inconsequentially long closer 'Its All Gonna Break'.
The bonus EP from the Limited Edition isn't much cop either, sounding more like outtakes than a record in its own right, and isn't worth spending any extra cash on.
If you liked Broken Social Scene 'You Forgot It In People' then in all probability you will wish to hear this too, but I guess you already know that. If you like any/all of Stars, Metric and Feist you need this – as Amy Millan, Emily Haines and Leslie Feist provide almost all the female vocals here, backed up by Torquil Campbell (Stars) on male vocals and a whole host of talented musicians who all come and go with the tracks, for Broken Social Scene is a ‘collective’ and not a ‘band’.
Something in me tells me that, as such, it shouldn’t really work as a cohesive unit but the undeniable fact is that on this album it does – so much so that, despite my original intention, I’ve now decided not to name tracks – it is an album best listened to in its entirety. As you might expect it is an album that generally wears its heart on its sleeve. It does often have a fairly clear political edge – that is predominantly anti-war, anti-Bush – which is hardly surprising given the conspirators previous convictions.
The bonus EP ‘To Be You and Me’ alluded to above, which is mostly much more biased towards electronica than the album it accompanies, starts with ‘Her Disappearing Theme’ on which the only vocals are distorted whispers. The abstract theme seems set to continue with the happy/harmless start of the next track, but during the first minute the mood changes entirely. Perhaps deemed too risky for the album itself this six-minute-long anti-war epic, ‘Canada vs. America’ evolves in a way that is surprising. This is very much a song on the offensive, and thus Metric’s ‘Succexy’ comes to mind, but so does Stars’ ‘Celebration Guns’, which is in comparison very contemplative. Either way this is an excellent track. The next two tracks subside into dreamy electronica only to wake somewhat bleary-eyed with ‘All My Friends’, a fairly standard emo-track.
Major Label Debut (Fast) is a version of track 5 on the LP Broken Social Scene. The EP closes with ‘Feel Good Lost Reprise’, an instrumental full of woozy electronic keyboards rather similar to those with which it opened.
As if to flex the national musical muscle, nearly all of the best artists in the country gang together to form Broken Social Scene and create an album of utter brilliance. They're kind of like the Justice League of Canada except without Spandex. I could pick out individual songs but it'd just read like the tracklisting with me gushing between each one, so I won't bother.
And just to make us look worse, if you follow the threads of the collaborators you'll only find more and more astonishing albums; 'Let it Die' by Feist, 'Folkloric Feel' Apostle of Hustle, Both Stars albums, By Divine Right - Also have a look at 'Reverie Sound Revue' since Lisa Lobsinger is now a full time member of BSS.
If I was going to pick out one problem with the album it's the fact that I will never be able to join the band firstly because I'm not from Canada and secondly because I have no talent. But I can dream can't I?
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