Broken Social Scene is so hip right now.
If one were to examine the year-end reviews of any hipster indie fanzine, you would probably find the same album up top of all of them; yes, ironically, it is the album in question here. Three years after the band's magnificent You Forgot It in People, the group signed on Stars (also so hip right now) front-woman Amy Millan to handle some lead vocal work in preparation for actually topping its predecessor. Does this self-titled disc rise to the occasion? Girly pants, ugly glasses, and pretentiousness all scream yes, and in hopefully the only time I will have to agree with hipster paraphernalia, I whole-heartedly concur.
Broken Social Scene is a less cohesive effort from the band. The songs aren't as structured as before, and that fact alone will turn some people off already. On this self-titled effort, most of the fourteen tracks reek of noise and bombastic jams, as opposed to the standard formula of a song, but it works well. There is so much going on here that, even if you aren't too sure of all that is happening at once, you can't help but feel that it just sounds good. Even the noisier parts, like the second half of the album's opener "Our Faces Split the Coast in Half," and the bridge of the contender for song of the year "7/4 (Shoreline)" sound pleasant in the mix of the song, which is something that not too many of these hipster bands can gloat about. The tracks here are all over the place, and range from dancier, hip-hop-infused tracks like "Windsurfing Nation," to more subdued, prettier ballads, such as "Swimmers," where vocalist recruit Millan truly shines bright, with her breathy, yet strangely sexy vocals take charge.
The album is a tad top-heavy, though, and gets increasingly tough to listen to as it drags on. "Superconnected" and "Handjobs for the Holidays" offer nothing special to the listener, and serve only as precursors to the album's gigantic closer, the nine-minute "It's All Gonna Break," which has more ups and downs than you can shake a stick at, as well as an intense outro and an overall feeling that this is the note an album should end on.
For an album that doesn't play by the rules, it sure is accessible. I don't see many people not enjoying this album, and I truly think that there's something for everyone here. Broken Social Scene have touched upon all things that make people want to listen to music, and have executed it with extreme precision.
- "7/4 (Shoreline)"
- "Windsurfing Nation"
- "It's All Gonna Break"