# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Broken Social Scene - Broken Social Scene

  by Jamie Rowland

published: 22 / 1 / 2006

Broken Social Scene - Broken Social Scene
Label: City Slang
Format: CD


Spectacular self-titled album from Canadian band Broke Social Scene, which numbers 17 in its line-up and is made up of members of some of Canada's most respected band inlcuding KC Accidental, the Dears, Stars and Metric

With 17 credited members in Broken Social Scene, you could be forgiven for worrying the band’s self-titled third album would be too cluttered, with too many instruments fighting to be heard. Thankfully, this is far from the truth. Made up of members of some of Canada’s most respected bands – KC Accidental, the Dears, Stars and Metric to name a few as well as solo songstress Leslie Feist– Broken Social Scene have more than enough musical knack to create spectacular tunes, ranging from fun and catchy to slow and surfy and all the way round to full-on rocking out – and they can do it with as many instruments as they want. The album opener, ‘Our Faces Split the Coast in Half’, starts with a softly plucked guitar, leading us gently into the album. As bass, guitars, drums, keys, guitars, horns and even more guitars come into play; the sound quickly starts to build up into something funky and danceable, while never getting too aggressive – it builds to a peak just long enough to get you excited before gently fading out again, and dissolving slowly into nothing. ‘Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day)’ is a bit fuller-on. Feedback and a hammering rhythm section march you quickly up to an energetic and powerful rock song, full of the feel-good pop-ness that can slap a smile on even the grimmest of souls’ faces. Top it all off with a building horn-section-led outro, and you’ve got yourself a winner! I’d like to go through every track in detail, discussing every thrilling moment of this album and trying to express just how good it really is, and how the band are equally competent playing soft and gentle as they are at rocking out, but it would take far too long and I fear we’d all get sick of my bum-kissing very quickly. Instead, I’ll just give you a quick run-through of a few of the other high-lights contained within the record. Other stand-out tracks include ‘7/4 (Shoreline)’, ‘Fire Eye’d Boy’, ‘Handjobs for the Holidays’ and the brilliant ‘Superconnected’, which I guarantee will make you want to jump up and down and clap your hands and dance a jig wherever you happen to be listening to it (although you may want to fight the urge if you’re in the middle of a shop or in a queue at the bank or something). The album closes with the nine-minute ‘It’s All Gonna Break’, which incorporates rock and soul masterfully for a good four minutes before the band really put it into top gear and take off at full power with every instrument at their disposal blazing. And then they slow down again (perhaps at some traffic lights, if you want to continue the driving metaphor) to a gentle, rocking sway, which builds up once more for a hammering, shimmering, stomping fan-fare of a conclusion. Oh, you beauty. If you were quick off the mark, you’ll have got your hands on the bonus 7 track EP which came with the album, ‘To Be You and Me’. This opens with the ambient ‘Her Disappearing Theme’, a mix of samples and soft vocals which create a really soothing atmosphere; the track is really quite haunting. In contrast, ‘Canada vs. America’ kicks in with a thumping beat and threatening guitars (along with a good bit of brass, of course). I won’t bore you by explaining what the song’s about. I think it’s fairly self-explanatory) but I will say that the chorus is seriously catchy; a repetition of the mantra "the big guns are comin’ out." ‘Baroque Social’ has a real techno-beat, along with a host of samples darting in and out of the track (the use of samples seems much more prominent on the EP). It almost sounds like a remix of a mainstream dance act like Chemical Brothers. ‘No Smiling Darkness/Snake Charmers Association’ is another laid back instrumental making good use of samples and layering, ‘All My Friends’ is a short and sweet acoustic number, with tender vocals, a gentle rhythm and a touch of melancholy. This is followed by a faster version of the album track ‘Major Label Debut’. On ‘Broken Social Scene’, the track is one of the calmer moments, but here it is transformed into a really bouncy, danceable song. Both versions are excellent, but I think I prefer this one, because it adds an extra element of fun to the track. The EP closes with ‘Feel Good Last Reprise’, which goes back again to using a lot of samples and a slow, gentle rhythm, along with some sparse piano. Again, it creates a fantastic atmosphere, but I think it’s a bit of a shame the band decided to finish so gently, rather than go out with a bang. But that’s just me being picky. Broken Social Scene’s production on both the EP and the full album can only be described as fuzzy; vocals and instruments swallow each other up and disappear into a brilliant wall of sound, making it difficult at times to locate individual parts. Not that that really matters, as it’s the song as a whole that really counts, and this band really know how to write them fantastically well. For me, this album has set a standard which other releases in 2006 are going to have to work really hard to live up to.

Track Listing:-
1 Our Faces Split The Coast In Half
2 Ibi Dreams Of Pavement (A Better Day)
3 7/4 (Shoreline)
4 Finish Your Collapse And Stay For Breakfast
5 Major Label Debut
6 Fire Eye'd Boy
7 Windsurfing Nation
8 Swimmers
9 Hotel
10 Handjobs For The Holidays
11 Superconnected
12 Bandwitch
13 Tremola Debut
14 It's All Gonna Break

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