At their very, very best Broken Social Scene convince me completely. They blow me away actually. By their very, very best, I mean the likes of ‘World Sick,’ ‘Chase Scene’ and ‘Forced To Love.’ My main problem with the band though, to be perfectly honest, is that it feels like they try too hard and have ended up producing a record that, whilst having genius moments, is a little confused and lacking in clear directions or focus. It’s one of my biggest bugbears in music; bands who you feel are trying to achieve too much or pack too much into a record, rather than piece together a coherent and understandable piece of music. ‘Texico Bitches’ for example, to me, feels like a silly throw away ditty sandwiched between the brilliance of the other 3 opening 4 songs. I really don’t like it. And ultimately, that’s the annoying thing about this record. It starts amazingly well. But the brilliance to the opening of the album is followed, for a while, by music that tunes me out, washes over me rather than music that turns me on. It’s actually quite frustrating as it’s exactly how I have felt about their previous albums too. That’s not to say the rest of the record is flat. Not at all. ‘Ungrateful Little Father’ lifts the record brilliantly after the blandness of some of the previous tunes. Then ‘Meet Me In The Basement’ is just a great instrumental – though I’m convinced about the logic of dropping this into the record where they do. It feels a little misplaced. And it’s screaming out for some edgy vocals, which never do happen. ‘Sweetest Kill’ is a stand out track for me. Just simple and beautiful, which is also frustrating because the other quieter numbers fall flat for one reason or another. Ultimately, I guess the album just feels a bit stop start. It perhaps tries to hard. And it is a little confusing to my ears.
For me, this record is about 4 tracks too long and suffers for it. I really do believe that if 4 tracks were removed I would love this. However, I just can’t bring myself to love it. It’s good but not great is about all I can offer. Do I think they can produce a classic? I reckon so. They have some brilliant songs on this record. It just doesn’t all gel together properly for me. Maybe this has something to do with all the band members and supporting cameos? I don’t know. Too many cooks and all.
Anyways, I’d still recommend buying this record. It’s a good listen if not quite as incredible as everyone seems to be making it out to be.
Check the band out here. Enjoy.