For most bands, four albums in ten years would be a guaranteed recipe for failure, a sort of musical foreplay that, frankly, takes too long to stay exciting. But Broken Social Scene is not like most bands with their rotating nineteen-man line-up, each of them bringing sounds and styles from various side projects, and their enviable ability to create just about any kind of ambiance they want. So it's fitting that fans not only will flock to pick up the band's first LP in five years, Forgiveness Rock Record
, but even more so that whatever lapse in recording has passed seems to have been worth the wait.
More than anything, Forgiveness
boasts the one thing that remains constant about BSS, which is that they are entirely unpredictable. From tracks with strings and horns to switching between male and female lead vocals to drawn-out instrumentals and short-lived guitar tracks, Forgiveness
oozes a juxtaposed diversity in that the differences between the tunes somehow is the very thing that makes them all fit together. Opening with a dynamic syntax that undulates between surreal and anthemic, the first part of the record boarders at times on rock-influenced dance tracks with BSS's signature blend of unique distortion and simultaneous licks piled on top of rich synthesizers and powerful percussive rhythms. But midway through, though some moments reminiscent of U2 remain, things mellow out dramatically with tracks like, "All to All," the Califone-ish "Highway Slipper Jam," and "Sentimental X's". Interspersed throughout are more of the fast tracks, notably the horn-heavy, "Art House Director," and the surprisingly cheerful, "Water In Hell," making Forgiveness
about as bipolar as an emo kid on acid.
Unlike emotionally unstable emo kids, though, BSS takes us smoothly along the rollercoaster ride, building up for the biggest drops while giving us time to recover between the most epic moments. And while the band may survive for another five years the same way as before on live gigs and side projects it's emphatically unwise in the interim to pass up on what should be considered a rare studio recording. Musical turbulence, energetic quietude, and grandiose climaxes make the undeniable point that despite a five-year studio absence, Broken Social Scene has nothing to be forgiven for.-josh cacopardo
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MP3: "World Sick" (Forgiveness Rock Record)
Broken Social Scene on Myspace