“Forgiveness Rock Record” (2010) by Broken Social Scene
It’s always hard to come up with something original about a record. Especially when those devils at Pitchfork Media have already said the funny, clever stuff that you were thinking when you first listened to it. Legendary indie-hipster-favourites-huge-Canadian-musical-collective Broken Social Scene have returned to the scene with album number 4. Is it different? No, not really. There’s plenty of clever, introspective, thought-provoking music on here, reminiscent of everything else that BSS have ever done. But is it good? Yes, dear God, yes, it is. Comparing this to most of the other self-proclaimed “indie” records released this year, it stands out like a golden nugget floating on a sludgy, brown river of shit.
Everything you’d expect from a Broken Social Scene release is on this record. You have the horns, the instrumental, the collaborations, and the grandiose of the music in general. There are hints of Pavement, Modest Mouse, Beck - name an indie music legend, and I’m sure you’ll be able to hear some of them in here. As many bands do as they grow older and mature, BSS have recorded some of their most radio-friendly tracks on this album. Songs like “World Sick”, “Ungrateful Little Father”, and “Texico Bitches” are only one quick edit away from being hits - maybe knock out the swearing, or cut the long instrumental sections, and you’d have yourself a single. The band won’t be planning on doing this, however - for the last three albums, they’ve been content with featuring only on hipster favourite radio stations cool enough to play them such as JJJ, and I highly doubt that they’ll stop this trend.
Forgiveness Rock Record is all about forgiveness and grandiosity. Not heartbreak, not sympathy, not melancholy, but forgiveness. As an emotion, it’s deeper and more sincere, requiring BSS to mature their songwriting. Have they taken this challenge head-0n? Well, yes and no. Musically, they’re tenfold better than they’ve ever been. Lyrically, they’ve evolved and expanded, while still retaining their prized indie cred.
So, yeah, it’s a good indie album. It’s cool enough to be held high by hipsters and yet still accessible enough to be held high by everyone else. Forgiveness Rock Record turned out to be everything I’d expect from a Broken Social Scene record - but hey, I’m not complaining.
Choice tracks: World Sick; Chase Scene; Ungrateful Little Father; Meet Me In The Basement
If you like: the Polyphonic Spree; Feist; Neutral Milk Hotel; Mercury Rev