Thursday, April 22, 2010

Broken Social Scene: "Forgiveness Rock Record" (album review)

I've always had a strange relationship with Broken Social Scene's music.  I have to admire the chances they take and appreciate the contribution they've made to indie rock as an art form.  However, when I reach for an album to listen to in my leisure time, it's rarely a BSS record.

It pleases me to no end then when I was completely enchanted with Forgiveness Rock Record, the Toronto collective's forthcoming album (out May 4th).  This marks the group's first album since their self-titled 2005 release.

The core of the rotating BSS line-up this time around is comprised of stalwarts Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning, along with (now Juno Award-winning) Charles Spearin, Andrew Whiteman, Justin Peroff, Lisa Lobsinger, and Sam Goldberg.  Pitching in are alumni Feist, Amy Millan, and Emily Haines, as well as members of Tortoise and Sea & Cake.

Forgiveness Rock Record may be BSS's most diverse effort to date.  The sprawling epic and album opener "World Sick" hearkens back to countless previous BSS songs, but it gets far more intriguing from there.

The group explore everything from orchestral pop ("Chase Scene", "Meet Me In the Basement"), to cacophonous rock ("Water In Hell"), to electronic bubbles and beats ("All To All").  Art rock gets a makeover with the Sonic Youth-worthy "Texico Bitches", while a horn flourish highlights the jangly "Art House Director".  The lo-fi, near Eels-esque "Ungrateful Little Father" and the almost whimsical "Sentimental X's" keep the listener on his or her toes.

In the end the diversity and melody may very well make Forgiveness Rock Record  BSS's most engaging and accessible album to date.

Broken Social Scene plays the Toronto Island Concert on June 19th with Pavement, Band Of Horses and more.

Best tracks: "Art House Director", "Texico Bitches"

Track listing for Forgiveness Rock Record:
  • World Sick
  • Chase Scene
  • Texico Bitches
  • Forced To Love
  • All To All
  • Art House Director
  • Highway Slipper Jam
  • Ungrateful Little Father
  • Meet Me In the Basement
  • Sentimental X's
  • Sweetest Kill
  • Romance To the Grave
  • Water In Hell
  • Me and My Hand
8.5/10
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4 comments:

Anonymous said...

"It pleases me to know end then..."
It pleases me to NO end.

Sorry to be a stickler but if you are going to claim to be a snob you should be able to articulate your ideas properly. Btw listening to this album right now, and I have to say it is pretty unoriginal and derived, from their own previous work and everything else in this pitifully convention ridden scene.

T.O. Snob said...

Thank you for pointing out my error. I have made the correction.

Since your contention that I articulate my ideas properly is a subject distinct from BSS's work being unoriginal and derivative, it requires that you use two separate paragraphs. Sorry to be a stickler but if you are going to be a pedant you should take extra care in your own writing.

Anonymous said...

Correction to the Anonymous Stickler: "in this pitifully convention ridden scene" should be "in this pitifully convention-ridden scene"

I don't agree with you, by the way.

Anonymous said...

Oh and also, "pretty unoriginal and derived, from their own previous work" should be "pretty unoriginal and derived from their own previous work"