Album of the Week: Broken Social Scene | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, June 25th, 2024  

Album of the Week: Broken Social Scene

Hug of Thunder Out Now via Arts & Crafts

Jul 07, 2017 Broken Social Scene Bookmark and Share

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Broken Social Scene‘s exuberant rock formula is expansive, it always has been, welcoming all who have caught wind to join in the procession. Since emanating in the form of fluid and ethereal fusion composition out of a Toronto basement occupied by Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning beginning in 1999, it swelled in scope and scale over the course of a decade, gathering numerous members and momentum, becoming a pied piper for a new generation of musicians and fans.

The group’s collective zeal towards a balance of robust and meditative output is imprinted on the alternative genre in ways that can’t be replicated exactly, though traces of its DNA can be found in abundance. This is why hearts sunk a little and a lot in 2011 when Drew announced that Broken Social Scene would be taking an extended hiatus. Though it never felt like they were gone entirely over the last seven years since 2010’s Forgiveness Rock Record, with Drew and Canning releasing solo albums and a genealogy of associated acts staying active, their stabilizing presence and esteemed force in the field was missed.

That force has returned in resounding fashion with Hug of Thunder and the rock world can rejoice. On their wonderfully designed and diverse fifth full-length, the gang is back at it, with all 15 of its original members returning to reform the sound so cherished and unmistakable. It’s pretty incredible that through the exhilarating listen of 12 distinctly shaped songs, it feels like no time has passed at all, a testament to the creative bond that drew them all together in the first place and that so clearly still exists.

As always, Broken Social Scene bursts open doors to dimensions of vivid color and movement.

Opening with a strand of beautiful ambience that marked its genesis, the new excursion surges into blasting numbers “Halfway Home” and “Protest Song,” where the starlit vocals of Emily Haines twirl over that familiar Broken Social Scene bassline, sending chills and awakening spirit. Then the understated and reassuring voices of captain of the vessel Drew (on “Skyline” and “Please Take Me With You”) and the unparalleled Leslie Feist (on the title track) feel like warm embraces from old friends not heard from in a while.

The return of Broken Social Scene is indeed occasion to celebrate. Hug of Thunder isn’t merely a reunion for old times sake, it’s a grand statement of the possibility of collective synergy to release unbounded musical energy. It’s a groundbreaking group’s return in full glory to once again set an example and show contemporaries and descendants alike how it’s done, and how far it can go.

Read our review of Hug of Thunder.

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