Imagine being a young lad lost at the fair. Oh, how fun the ferris wheel looks in your young eyes. How exciting the squirt-the-water-in-the-balloon's-mouth game appears to be. How dangerously intriguing the travelling freakshow appeals to you. You're lost, but you don't care because you're having oh so much fun and your chains are undone by your parents who only encourage rides such as the marry-go-round and sitting on the bench. You're lost and you feel good. You're feel good lost.
Broken Social Scene have defied they're spotlight in the mainstream, but for a good cost - they get to make the music that they love the most. In they're five year recording career, there's barely been a mention of them on the radio, there haven't been memorobilia, there haven't been teenage fans waving "I Love You!" signs at they're concerts. The recent win of the Best Alternative Album juno might shove them into the mainstream a little bit more, but rest assured this band isn't about to change. Thank God for real indie!
This is probably 1/9 of Broken Social Scene. Only two full time members appear on this record. Founders Brenden Canning and Kevin Drew play all the instruments, with the exception of a few guest performances. This is an instrumental album, and it is completely different than they're other albums. A sort of Sigur Ros influenced album, if you will. Nevertheless, this album is completely breathtaking.
The whole album features a sort of concept: to make white noise listenable. Well, maybe white noise is too harsh. Let's say this; the album features an assorted array of sounds carefully crafted into beautiful, melancolie, mournful and solemn pieces of beautiful music. That's where the Sigur Ros comparison comes in. But Broken Social Scene add a dazzling array of instruments, which make sometimes brief but always rewarding appearances. The rock instruments (ie Bass, Guitar, Drums) only compliment the hum of the background noise, and the band may even add a whispering vocal performance to keep things interesting. The best part of these kinds of songs is the way that BSS crafts them to be different, odd and sort of Radiohead Amnesiac era music that hums, glistens and stuns, but also adds an indie feel - the very fact that these guys add guitar, bass and drums as background noise makes this album even more appealing, but in the meantime it may turn some listeners off.
Another side of the album is the current sound of Broken Social Scene - the indie anthems that boast a dozen instruments and usually boast a fascinating, complex rhythm to them that make them even more irrestable. Songs like the incredible, eight and a half minute Last Place
make for an enjoyable listen on the sole fact that they have as much brilliance, subtlety, complexity and variety in them that you can't help but tap you're foot, close you're eyes and forget about the problems. This is the amazing power of Broken Social Scene's instrumental ballads - no distractions, just straight forward drama and creativity to the end. The guitar parts are scarce, but they make the feel of the album even more unique, as for the most part they boast a sort of power and variety that they can only make things better for the listener. The bass which is, again, scarce is fantastic, as it fits in with the music more than anything, rumbling with confidence along the white noise. The drums are usually either faint, electronic drums or pronounced acoustic drums beating the hell out of the song, but in a good way.
This album is, of course, not all fun and games. The lack of vocals can make a sort of repetetive feel to them, and the music itself can be rather tedious, but if you really want to listen to this album and enjoy it, you have to be in a certain mood; a mood where you don't want anything to get in the way of you're enjoyable experience. Not to mentino this music is the perfect day-dream booster, as the humming music allows for thinking from the listener - such topics as "What are these guys trying to get across with they're music?". Not to mention, it's also very philisophical. This music has so much to offer and doesn't carry many answers to the question of "Is this noise or music?". It is neither. It is brilliance and undeniable force in music that you can only think when you listen to it. The concept doesn't wear thin, even after the end. The end marks a fading closing, and is the most indie of the songs. Cranley's Gonna Make It
is the perfect mixture of powerful music and songwriting, while also sounds as if the band is having an experimental jam with incredible results - a quiet, peaceful and ultimately enjoyable song takes place and gives this album a great ending place, though it seems as if it's over too soon.
Not much else can be said on this brilliant release from a brilliant band. It can draw comparisons to Radiohead - it's like Kid A, which follows the rock-ish Ok Computer, but BSS do it the other way around - they make sure that they can hook fans on before they change they're music for the better, therefore making sure that they can only gain fans. Of course, this album isn't flawless, as it can be too un-musical to some, and fans of traditional indie music may not appeal to this for it's completely individual feel, but this is still a wonderful release from a brilliant band, if at first different from their following efforts. Give it a spin and get yourself lost.