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Posts Tagged ‘Broken Social Scene’
Great Bloomers (EP)
May 27th 2008 (iTunes)
Canada has yet again dipped into the time tested tradition of folk rock. It is a beautiful sight to behold. The blank and too often standard canvass that the folk genre has become has allowed for heaps of redundancy, monotony, and predictability to seep onto record shop shelves everywhere. In the past as now, folk rock shines when musicians recognize this tendency and confront it head on, sometimes resulting, through experimentation, in music that on its face has little resemblance to its initial root. Acts like Pavement, Broken Social Scene, Eagle Seagull, Modest Mouse, The National, and Wilco all share this readiness to experiment beyond the initial structure of verse/chorus. Toronto’s Great Bloomers have endeavored to contribute to this style with the same reflexive perspective.
In less than 20 minutes, the Great Bloomers’ new self titled EP smears their biography thickly. Lyrically this EP serves as a collection of letters, never annoyingly saccharin, yet caught up in nostalgia and idealism. Catching Up opens the disc with an upbeat, high spirited pop track dressed in a symphony of feedback and speckles of unimposing harmonica. Black Rising Fire continues the EP with an awkward melody that seems lifted directly from early 1990’s pop rock, but as the song teeters it transforms into a bass walking Americana jig, which then descends into a choir of feathered voices.
The energy and musicianship of the Great Bloomers is to be commended. A criticism they may have to overcome would involve their flirtation with sing-song simplicity as in the intro to Market of the Night. However every time a song approaches catastrophe they pull it out of the water. The changeups are not schizophrenic; rather they are subtle shifts in pop sensibilities from banality to the road less traveled. This modal awareness is what makes the Great Bloomers a promising troupe. Look for their full length LP coming soon.
Posted in 2008, 6 Points, Bands, Canada, CD Release, EP, Frederick Foxtrott, Great Bloomers, Grifter Records, Indie, Music, Music Review, Pop, Toronto | Tagged 2008, 6 Points, Bands, Broken Social Scene, Canada, CD Release, EP, Folk, Frederick Foxtrott, Great Bloomers, Grifter Records, Indie, Music, Music Review, Toronto, Wilco | Leave a Comment »
Broken Social Scene Presents:
Arts & Crafts
September 18th 2007
Spirit If… has a message for me louder than the music. Kevin Drew is the heart of my affection for Broken Social Scene. With the Broken Social Scene Presents project underway, various members are releasing albums centered on the individualistic contributions to the whole. Broken Social Scene has always been associated with big shows with a dozen or so music makers romping the stage, instilling a fervor and zeal in the audience rarely witnessed outside the confines of an evangelical church. Some bands find ways to individualize their traditionally collective sound by striping off some of the layers, exposing the bare bones of the focal band members. Other times band members get involved in a series of solo projects, wishing that their musical prowess be recognized in and of itself. After a few years of collective recognition and association some musicians yearn for their own identity. Sometimes validation can only occur under a spotlight, away from the muddling impositions of others’ ideas. Still other bands go the way of Outkast and Broken Social Scene, releasing albums that deliver the full effect of the collective band, but under the direction and as an expression of one member. While the direction originates from a defined personality, many members of Broken Social Scene have come together to realize the vision of the popped collar king.
Suicides and fucked up kids dominate the lyrical themes of Spirit If…. This, as much as any layered instrumentation, is a part of Broken Social Scene’s genetics. The album begins with the droney, off center, and coterminally lumpy and charming song Farewell to the Pressure Kids. The first track introduces the psychedelic environment in which Mr. Drew constructs his warped reality. Too Beautiful to Fuck follows as an intimate love song and a beautiful exhalation expressing a calm adoration of beauty with a sweet and crude realism. The most progressive and impressive track on Spirit If… is Frightening Lives. His vocals are purposefully intense and the dingy guitars are fortified with synthesized rhythms and casiotone accents. I will remember every word to this song and play it at every party. While it is important to evaluate a solo endeavor on its own merits, and to resist using previous collaborations as a criterion or point of comparison, Spirit If… illustrates the difficulty in ignoring how much Broken Social Scene’s identity is rooted within Kevin Drew, not the other way around.
The beauty of Spirit If… is its clarity. While Brendan Canning, Justin Peroff, and the rest of the gang are important to Broken Social Scene’s makeup, Kevin Drew’s effort best distills the mode in which Broken Social Scene operates. The lyrics are quirky and delicious. Even careless strings like “They say size doesn’t count but my heart is a house” make me jealous of Mr. Drew’s ability to transform awkward phrases into meaningful supplications. The drums are loose, metronomically switching between the snare and high hat. Nearly all of my favorite aspects of Broken Social Scene are encapsulated in this record. Kevin Drew hasn’t sounded this tender since You Forgot It in People. It is almost as if their self titled record, while fucking amazing, incorporated so much that Drew’s soft and tender voice was lost amongst a symphony and Spirit If… has surfaced to reclaim that space once occupied and delimited by his own creative moments. In 2008 Brendan Canning will release his own record. I am sure that as other albums are released, I’ll be similarly impressed by the manner in which the essence of Broken Social Scene is captured. Perhaps it is true that the parts make a whole, but Kevin Drew has certainly claimed a large piece for himself.
Feel Good Lost- 2001
You Forgot It in People- 2002
Bee Hives- 2004
Broken Social Scene- 2005
Posted in 2007, 7 Points, Arts & Crafts, Bands, Brendan Canning, Broken Social Scene, Canada, Indie, Kevin Drew, Music, Music Review, Toronto | Tagged , , 2007, 7 Points, Bands, Brendan Canning, Broken Social Scene, Canada, Indie, Kevin Drew, Music Review, Toronto | Leave a Comment »