MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2007|
Even though we should technically consider the album Spirit If…, from Broken Social Scene co-founder Kevin Drew, as a solo output, it’s hard not to see this as another BSS record. The usual suspects stop by as contributors (Feist, Emily Haines Joules Scott-Key and Jimmy Shaw of Metric, Stars’ Amy Millian and Evan Cranley), along with a couple of indie rock big names (J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. and Scott Kanneberg aka Spiral Stairs of Pavement). The album consists of tunes penned by Drew that were recorded irregularly over the past couple of years. All in all, like the majority of BSS efforts, the collective provided a lot of input.
That’s not a bad thing at all considering that this album provides the listener with the same emotional peaks and valleys and atmospheric sound that the Canadian indie band is known for…and maybe a more intimate listen than previous albums involving the group. Of course the more intimate quality could be the results of having only one person write all of the songs.
The opening track “Farewell to the Pressure Kids” lulls you in for a couple of seconds with soothing keyboards before the drums, guitars, etc. wail away and pound on your eardrums. It’s a jarring feeling, but a triumphant one at the same time. A stereotypical grand entrance like the ones made on previous BSS albums. This type of dichotomy doesn’t reappear until the first minute or so of "Lucky Ones".
The rest of the album, which was produced by Drew along with fellow BSS members Ohad Benchetrit and Charles Spearin, showcases the lush production, dazzling, heartrending and artistic (but not pretentious) nature of all BSS releases (as shown on album highlights “Bodhi Sappy Weekend” and “TBTF”).
Acoustic guitars, with an electronic bass line and electronic percussion highlight the lovely “Gang Bang Suicide.” The harmonies that close this particular song put this particular listener in a trance that he didn’t want to come out of. Be on the lookout for the very catchy first single “Backed Out On The...” which is screaming for a television drama to use it during a happy ending of an episode. “It’s gonna be really hard when you get to the again…but don’t forget what you felt,” says the chorus of the final track “When It Begins.” They couldn’t have been any more right. You have been taken on another journey by one of the best indie bands of the decade.
The majestic and anthemic backdrop of Spirit If… makes it the perfect soundtrack to an intimate night with a couple of close friends or a Sunday afternoon spent alone. One person several years ago called Broken Social Scene an orchestra for the slacker generation and the literati. That sounds about right. - Stephon Johnson