Broken Social Scene (Arts & Crafts)

Broken Social Scene 

Broken Social Scene (Arts & Crafts)

In 2002, Broken Social Scene didn't have much to prove. Most members of the Toronto collective were already playing in other Canadian indie bands (Stars, Metric, Do Make Say Think), and because they were a ragtag group of relative musical unknowns, their second album was likely to be as forgotten as their first. But You Forgot It In People wasn't, thanks in large part to a chance discovery by hipster paradise Pitchfork Media, and the collective-on-the-side quickly turned into the main entrée. Buzz and anticipation might be new to BSS on its third proper full-length, but it sure doesn't sound like anyone in the band is aware of it. The same loose aesthetic that made Forgot so dreamy hasn't been rushed or overworked on Broken Social Scene — in fact, the band may have grown more carefree since getting so much attention. "Windsurfing Nation" is BSS at its best, with a spastic-dance breakbeat supported by crisp guitar licks, fuzzy blurs of feedback, and four different choruses chanted and sung simultaneously — it sounds like the 11 members invented their own sections and made a party out of recording them at the same time. High quality pervades on this disc, with the OC-ready bedroom-sing-a-long of "Swimmers," the warm bath of distorted guitars throughout, the trumpet notes and vocal oohs on "Handjobs for the Holidays," the festival-ready four-guitar blasts and stuck-in-your-head chorus of "7/4 (Shoreline)" and the 21st-century take on Neil Young of "It's All Gonna Break." If more bands had nothing to prove, then maybe everything would sound as beautiful as Broken Social Scene.

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