Brendan Canning: Home Wrecking Years (Arts & Crafts) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Brendan Canning

Home Wrecking Years

Arts & Crafts

Aug 11, 2016 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

When “Book It to Fresno” blasts off to open Brendan Canning‘s return to a full band affair you realize how dearly Broken Social Scene has been missed in recent years. There was always an exuberance in the playing of the pioneering mega group from Canada, a harmonious lift from a convergence of musical kinfolk that championed inclusiveness more than a showcasing of any one talent. As co-founder, Canning helped cultivate an organic development of songs that gleaned from life’s eye-opening and formative experiences, translating that into themes to rock out to, and bring people together with. Home Wrecking Years is the return to that pure, unified pursuit of ensemble bliss.

The musicians assembled for Broken Social Scene, always a fluid circulation in a sprawling Metro-Canadian music community, all have an honest to goodness blast in generating rock waves. Past BSS members Sam Goldberg and Justin Peroff are in the fold here, along with The Stills’ Liam O’Neil. Heights of outpour are achieved once more through collective harnessing of all energies and what is evident is Canning’s proclivity to dive into thrusting movements of instrumentation that still remain in a melodic contour to the tune. This rushes forth in the climatic bursts of standouts “Vibration Walls” and “Nashville Late Pass.” There’s also the downward shift from that kind of intoxicating sweep, into vintage Santa Monica Beach breezers that recall past Broken Social sidetracks “Pacific Theme” and “Swimmers.” The seductiveness of those daydreams drops off this time in “Keystone Dealers,” while “Work Out in the Wash” is a R&B/soul influenced but uninspired number that points to nothing more than variety. It really would have been fine for Canning to have stayed in full band tilt the whole time, and the energy is recovered when “Money Mark” drives through with the irresistible gravity of its bassline. And still, you’re pleasantly reminded of the softer reflections also once visited in how “Sleeping Birds Like Lasers” rekindles the wistful magic of “Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl.”

The beloved trademarks of Broken Social Scene surface throughout in the extended background horn lines that make your heart swell a little, the driving bass that give a bounce to your sway, the cymbals that have just the right amount of clash, and of course, the angelic supporting vocals that enchant a song in the way Leslie Feist, Amy Millan, and Emily Haines used to. This actually becomes quite a poignantly nostalgic listen because you remember more restless times of your more resilient ages when Broken Social Scene gave you anthems to embrace and vibes that gave anyone in listening range an overall boost. (

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 5/10


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