Broken Social Scene are at their very core the soul of independent music. They are a revolving door collection of independent musicians who come together to create some masterfully epic music. There is a certain heart to the band, a life-beating entity within it that is always present to make it alive. It is that life-beating entity that allows for Broken Social Scene to be successful, because it allows them to be diverse while keeping the direction of the band on course. No, this isn’t an ordinary band by an means. This is a progressive, independent, ever-changing ensemble.
Forgiveness Rock Record is an absolute cornucopia of sounds, emotions, and ambiance. But this much is to be expected from astute fans of the Toronto collective. Their albums are frequently buffet style music at its very best-a plate full of everything swirled together into what could be a mess, but is somehow more delicious than the sum of its parts.
The album is a treasure chest full of power and potency floating at the bottom of ocean that no one key unlocks. Broken Social Scene have always created melancholy, emotional, heart-wrenched music. But rarely, if ever, have they felt as sprightly and full of joy than they do on Forgiveness Rock Record. It’s timely, of course, as they seem to be cycling out of a mundane, grey early adulthood slumber and embracing what is in front of them rather than harping on what is behind them. The record is about forgiveness, after all.
One of the more difficult things for humankind to embrace is forgiveness, yet Broken Social Scene manage to birth an entire series of songs that focus on just that. It’s through forgiveness that we can truly see ourselves, and this is Broken Social Scene trending more toward thoughtful, art house pop music than they ever have before. And it’s an experiment worth furthering, as they have once again created a masterpiece befitting a true set of Canadian geniuses.
“World Sick” kicks off the album in stylish fashion, a rocking anthem about hopelessness and hopefulness among the grand scheme. The hodgepodge continues with “Chase Scene”, an 80s art house synth driven ode that also manages to swirl strings and melody together that the entire thing begins to resemble something out of a 1970s film like Bullitt. The weirdest part is that it works so well it’s puzzling no one else has ever thought of it.
The entire album works based on its brand of diversity. Each and every song through fourteen entire tracks has its own identity, stands alone but comes together in the end to create an entire auditory experience where paths are trekked and casualties are had. Broken Social Scene is almost as unpredictable as you can get on an album. Behind every turn, hiding in every nook is something unexpected, something different, something memorable.
The songs never threaten to morph into one stream of similar sounding music. Each song takes us up, down, and around the ladder, and we always can tell where we stand. We can read the tracks after numerous listens like a road map leading us on our sonic journey.
By the time we land upon the montage perfected sound of “Meet Me in the Basement” the trending somberness of previous records has almost abandoned us completely. Now, here we are tapping our toes and clapping our hands along with the upbeat, cheery, fresh from the Earth goodness.
Broken Social Scene continue to change without doing it simply for the sake of change. This is a natural, competitive evolution that requires competency and a clear vision. It’s phenomenal that a band with so many members along the way have been able to keep their path clear and their eyes on the road, while so many bands fumble with the steering wheel and end up crashing in a ditch after two albums. No, perhaps the collective atmosphere is a better formula, as ego’s are left at the revolving door. In and out they come, but the door takes you in and spits you out in a better place each time.
Final Score: 8.75/10 (Great)