Features Reviews

VFTA: Broken Social Scene Part 3 – "Broken Social Scene"

Not sure what this VFTA malarkey is all about? See here.
To listen along with Ben, BSS’ “Broken Social Scene” is on Spotify.
Click the album art below to purchase a copy of the album from Amazon.

As the new millennium surged on and the decade reached it’s dizzy midpoint, the now infamous Broken Social Scene continued to evolve, shifting the perspectives of the followers that they had gathered up to now.

This time, the boundaries were to be pushed further and wider as the band set about crafting what was to become their most varied, ambitious and commercially accessible album to date. They were to create a new way of dreaming. Following the three year gap since their previous sound exploration, “You Forgot It In People”, the band had been hard at work writing new, ambitious material. “Broken Social Scene” saw more collaborators than their previous efforts and included artists such as The Dears’ Murry Lightburn and Jason Tait of The Weakerthans. The new ideas that formed from these collaborations, coupled with the already vast scope of the existing collective, serve to add a world of colour to the third album.

From the opening track ‘Our Faces Split The Coast In Half’ and the tune’s rays of yellow sunshine, it is clear that this new album will not only provide a more coherent picture of what the band are about but also an illustrated soundtrack to the listener’s life. The use of driving rhythms, and the cacophony of instruments that drift in and out of the introductory track alone clearly show this quality.

One significant element to the band’s sound on this collection is the sense of experimentation. This can be heard throughout the album but most notably in the dabbling of different time signatures and effects, prominent in ‘7/4 (Shoreline)’. The experimentation also creeps into existence around the end of some of the tracks, where various members of the collective sample techniques and potential song directions.

The colours of the album tend to get brighter around tracks such as ‘Swimmers’ and ‘Superconnected’, both offering meaty drum beats dripped in a shoe gaze mentality and melody. However, the band do revert back to their previous, darker territory as the album reaches it’s climatic end in ‘It’s All Gonna Break’. In this shady closing track the harsh lyrics “When I was a kid, you fucked me in the ass, but I took my pen to my paper, and I passed you. You know I love the shit, ‘Cause the shit tastes so good, I’ve got pastures waiting in the woods” leek from the otherwise optimistic album, and remind the listener that emotions themselves are, in fact, colourless.

“Broken Social Scene” marked the peak of the bands musical exploration, and in a way reveals the true “broken” element to the vision that the ever expanding collective have built. The break doesn’t necessarily come in the disjointed nature of the song writing but more in the way that every track, each representing a different emotion, appear to be scattered around perhaps replicating real life. The self-titled effort also symbolises how Broken Social Scene have the unique ability, yet again to set their music and song to dream like imagery, but this time in full technicolour!

Ben Hawling