Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record

April 10th, 2010 by Eric Loose


Broken Social Scene have never been a band to go lightly on extravagance. The Canadian conglomerate of a band that began with 2 art-rockers quickly grew into a joint mish-mash of indie all-stars from a wide scope. With the sexy songstresses from Stars and Metric, it’s also worth mentioning that Broken Social Scene probably have one of the prettiest rock line-ups (sorry, Hayley Williams). This assortment of indie royalty grants Broken Social Scene the ability to experiment a little, and rarely do they pass up this opportunity. Forgiveness Rock Record is a rich display of Broken Social Scene’s many talents and areas of interest, from blaring horns sections to lighter pieces where Emily Hainses’ soft voice is most prominent. Yes, it’s also probably not too far from what you’re expecting to hear if you were one of the vehement fans of You Forgot It In People (then again, fans indifferent to YFIIP are few and far between). And in no way can you count this steady, tranquil progression against Broken Social Scene. Forgiveness Rock Record may not grant many gasps in shock and awe, but the group’s latest is sure to leave the rest of 2010 a target to catch up to as far as indie goes.

Where we do find the Canadians diverging from the regular trajectory in 2010 is with their level of energy. Irresistible hooks, creamy melodies, yes it’s all there… but now with a little flair. Compared to their relatively undisputed magnum opus You Forgot It In People (as their latest is sure to be compared to time and time again), Forgiveness Rock Record comes out as the more outgoing and optimistic of the two. Broken Social Scene haven’t changed the tried-and-true formula of intricate layers, whispery vocal melodies, and catchy hooks upon hooks galore, but they have added a tinge of self-confidence into the mix.

Forgiveness Rock Record is no exception to the exorbitant and sometimes over-the-top tones that accompany your typical Broken Social Scene album. Their ability to switch seamlessly back and forth from a low-key track to one with oodles upon oodles of instruments, textures, and layers remains one of the band’s most enticing aspects.

Always evident amongst this beauty though is the diversity that really separates an album like Forgiveness Rock Record. The ambition here is debatable, as it slightly resembles the diverse arrangements of Broken Social Scene’s past. There’s an abundance of power behind the subtleties of the record as a whole, and it shows itself in pieces rather than one astounding “Hurrah!” Rather than wow the listener with single upon single, Forgiveness Rock Record will likely impress you much more on the 10th listen than it will on the second. Once you get past the immediate glowing response to the obvious “World Sick,” “Chase Scene,” or “Art House Director,” you begin to see the beauty in the more subtle and simpler tracks like the quirky “Texico Bitches,” the soft and lovely “Water in Hell,” or the quiet closer “Me and My Hand” that closes the album like a funeral at sea… drifting away slowly.

To be quite honest, though, Forgiveness Rock Record is an incredibly predictable release from the crew. Yes, immediate impressions might garner a few responses to the unmistakable melodious and foot-tapping nature, but through and through this is another Broken Social Scene album. On the other hand, don’t you dare think that’s a detriment. Broken Social Scene have proven themselves trustworthy enough to tweak their aesthetic in minor ways and reap the flattering reactions that are well-deserved. While it’s far too hasty to be proclaiming Forgiveness Rock Record the album that overtakes the illustrious You Forgot It In People, I have no desire to compare them yet. It’s too easy to enjoy the simple bliss of Forgiveness Rock Record over and over and over again until my ears grow weary of Emily Haines (fun fact: that’s not actually possible).The latest from Broken Social Scene is a creation full of end upon end of satisfaction in the form of lovable and listenable indie music the likes of which may not be topped in 2010. After many listens, I’ve become incessantly content and fulfilled knowing the answer to the question I asked myself going in to Forgiveness Rock Record: If it’s not broken, why fix it? Thankfully, Broken Social Scene knew they didn’t have much to patch up.

Overall Rating: 4/5

You can stream the new album here at NPR.




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