Broken Social Scene


(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
Feel Good Lost (2001), 6/10
You Forgot It in People (2002) , 7/10
Beehives (2004), 4.5/10
Broken Social Scene (2005), 6/10
Jason Collett: Bitter Beauty (2002), 6/10
Jason Collett: Motor Motel Love Songs (2003), 5/10
Jason Collett: Idols Of Exile (2006), 6/10
Jason Collett: Here's to Being Here (2008), 5/10
Jason Collett: Rat A Tat Tat (2010), 4.5/10
Forgiveness Rock Record (2010), 6/10
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Alt-rock supergroup Broken Social Scene, hailing from Toronto (Canada) and led by Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning, debuted with Feel Good Lost (Arts & Crafts, 2001), a low-key (mostly instrumental) atmospheric fresco made of many interlocking parts, from the impressionist watercolor Guilty Cubicles to the easy-listening parody Alive in 85 to the dissonant violin lullaby Mossbraker to the gently droning and looping eight-minute Last Place, the most atmospheric composition. The band rarely repeats itself. I Slept With Bonhomme at the CBC harkens back to the minimalist nostalgic chamber music a` la Penguin Cafè Orchestra. The drums trigger the metamorphoses of Love and Mathematics, from jazzy interlude to minimalist iteration to emphatic crescendo. The electro-orchestral lull of Passport Radio dilates and distorts a soul ballad. The closer, Cranley's Gonna Make It, is an upbeat country-rock shuffle. The vocal songs are no less creative. The seven-minute Blues for Uncle Gibb is indeed an old-fashioned blues, although recorded as if we were listening to it from a keyhole. The Stomach Song does the same thing to folk music, except that it adds a psychedelic touch.

The project truly blossomed with the more robust and varied You Forgot It in People (Arts & Crafts, 2002), that employed 15 players. Bookended by two brief instrumentals, the first one an ambient watercolor (Capture the Flag) and the last one a neoclassical interlude (Pitter Patter Goes My Heart), the songs run the gamut from ebullient noise-rock (Almost Crimes) to Latin-tinged folk-rock (Looks Just Like the Sun), from childish folk lullaby (Anthems for a Seventeen Year-old Girl, penned by vocalist Emily Haines) to poppy Dinosaur Jr-esque work-outs (Cause = Time). The most memorable moments are not the melodies or the guitar riffs or the solos, but the ones in which the music gently morphs into its own negation: Stars and Sons (from mellow soul-pop to surreal dissonant freak-out), Shampoo Suicide (from Latin-funky shuffles a` la Santana to eerie bacchanals), the exotic twang-driven muzak of the instrumental Pacific Theme.
The lyrical impetus of the album peaks with the moving six-minute dirge Lover's Spit, sung in a tone that borrows from both Lou Reed and Bob Dylan at a funereal tempo against the backdrop of a horn fanfare.
While lacking a unitary theme, the parade of styles was captivating precisely in its anarchic and protean overreaching.

Beehives (Arts and Crafts, 2004) collects B-sides, alternate takes and studio demos.

Broken Social Scene (Arts & Crafts, 2005) recaptured the ambition of You Forgot It in People but not its spontaneity. In fact, this smoldering cauldron of contradictory ideas sounded positively overwhelming precisely because there was little left to "feeling". In a sense, there was too much substance in tracks such as Ibi Dreams of Pavement, Handjobs for the Holidays and Windsurfing Nation: too many sounds to be sorted out, too many combinations to be unpacked. While occasionally lively (7/4 Shoreline) and atmospheric (Hotel, Major Label Debut), it was clear that the band's effort went into the brainier pieces. Unfortunately, those (particularly the ten-minute It's All Gonna Break) were just about the least engaging ones.

Toronto's singer-songwriter and Broken Social Scene's guitarist Jason Collett, who had already released Chrome Reflection (2000) under the moniker Bird, started his solo career with Bitter Beauty (2002), one of the best country-pop recordings of the year. Motor Motel Love Songs (2003) collected early material, but Idols Of Exile (Arts & Crafts, 2006) was an even bouncier collection than the first one (We All Lose One Another, I'll Bring the Sun, I'll Bring The Sun, Feral Republic). Out of the twelve sparsely-arranged songs of Jason Collett's Here's to Being Here (Arts and Crafts, 2008) only a handful were really worth being released, and of these only a couple (the rocker Papercut Hearts and the moving Henry's Song) validate the status of Collett as a major songwriter, while the rest presents him as a mediocre disciple of Bob Dylan.

Translation by/ Tradotto da MassimoMascia)

Originaria di Toronto, Canada, la superband di alt-rock Broken Social Scene, guidata da Kevin Drew e Brendan Canning, esordì con Feel Good Lost (Arts&Crafts, 2001), un misurato affresco d'atmosfera, in prevalenza strumentale, costituito da molteplici tasselli: dall'acquerello impressionista Guilty Cubicles alla parodia dell'easy-listening Alive in 85; dalla dissonante ninna-nanna violinistica Mossbraker all'estesa Last Place, la composizione più suggestiva, otto minuti di morbidi droni e loop. La band si ripete di rado. I Slept With Bonhomme at the CBC rimanda al nostalgico minimalismo della musica da camera stile Penguin Cafè Orchestra. La batteria innesca le metamorfosi di Love and Mathematics, da interludio jazzato fino a un enfatico crescendo, passando per iterazioni minimaliste. La pausa elettro-orchestrale di Passport Radio gonfia e distorce una ballata soul. In chiusura Cranley's Gonna Make It, uno shuffle country-rock in levare. I pezzi vocali non sono da meno in fatto di creatività. Blues for Uncle Gibb sono sette minuti di autentico blues vecchia maniera, anche se sembra registrato come se si ascoltasse dal buco della serratura. Stomach Song compie la stessa operazione sulla musica folk, aggiungendo inoltre un tocco di psichedelia.

Il progetto sbocciò veramente nel più solido e vario You Forgot It in People (Arts&Crafts, 2002), al quale parteciparono ben 15 musicisti. Due brevi strumentali, il primo un acquarello ambient (Capture the Flag) e il secondo un interludio neoclassico (Pitter Patter Goes My Heart), segnano l'inizio e la fine dell'album in mezzo a cui le canzoni spaziano sull'intera tavolozza sonora: dal noise-rock esuberante (Almost Crimes) al folk-rock latineggiante (Looks Just Like the Sun), dall'infantile filastrocca folk (Anthems for a Seventeen Year-old Girl, firmata dalla vocalist Emily Haines) a soluzioni "poppeggianti" alla Dinosaur Jr (Cause = Time). I passaggi più memorabili non sono le melodie, i riff di chitarra o gli assoli, bensì quelli in cui la musica si trasforma senza strappi nella sua negazione: Stars and Sons (da ruffiano soul-pop a dissonante follia surreale), Shampoo Suicide (shuffle funky latino memore di Santana che si torce in sinistro baccanale), fino alla muzak tintinnante dello strumentale Pacific Theme.
L'impeto lirico del disco culmina nella toccante Lover's Spit, una nenia di sei minuti scandita su un tempo funereo, stagliata contro lo sfondo di una fanfara di corni e cantata in un tono che deve tanto a Lou Reed quanto a Bob Dylan.
Nonostante l'album manchi di un tema unitario, la parata di stili risulta accattivante proprio nel suo anarchico e proteiforme spingersi oltre. 

Beehives (Arts&Crafts, 2004) è una raccolta di B-sides, versioni alternative e demo di studio.

Broken Social Scene (Arts&Crafts, 2005) recuperò l'ambizione di You Forgot It in People ma non la sua freschezza. Di fatto questo fumante calderone di idee contradditorie possiede un suono assolutamente travolgente proprio perché non viene lasciato molto da “sentire”. In un certo senso, c'è troppo materiale in tracce come Ibi Dreams of Pavement, Handjobs for the Holidays e Windsurfing Nation: troppi suoni da discernere, troppe combinazioni da smontare. Anche se a tratti vivace (7/4 Shoreline) e atmosferico (Hotel, Major Label Debut), è chiaro che gli sforzi della band si sono indirizzati verso i pezzi più cerebrali. Sfortunatamente questi, in particolare i dieci minuti di It's All Gonna Break, sono proprio i meno impegnativi

Il cantautore di Toronto e chitarrista dei Broken Social Scene, Jason Collett, che in precedenza aveva rilasciato Chrome Reflection (2000) con lo pseudonimo di Bird, iniziò la sua carriera solistica con Bitter Beauty (2002), una delle migliori incisioni country-pop dell'anno. Motor Motel Love Songs (2003) era una raccolta di materiale degli esordi, mentre Idols Of Exile (Arts & Crafts, 2006) era una raccolta più vivace perfino della prima (We All Lose One Another, I'll Bring the Sun, Feral Republic). Dei dodici pezzi scarnamente arrangiati presenti in Here's to Being Here (Arts and Crafts, 2008) solo una manciata era realmente degna di essere pubblicata, e tra queste solamente due (il rock Papercut Hearts e la vibrante Henry's Song) confermano lo status di Collett come cantautore di razza, mentre le restanti lo fanno apparire come un mediocre seguace di Bob Dylan.

Coming after a five-year hiatus, the subdued and eclectic Forgiveness Rock Record (2010) marked another change of direction for the collective that was Broken Social Scene. The energetic songs, such as World Sick and Chase Scene, stand out, but the grand pop of Forced to Love and Water in Hell does not lack pathos compared with the band's artistic peaks of the past, and the instrumental jam Meet Me in the Basement is the one novelty that works well. While those moments are memorable enough and impeccably executed, the rest leaves to be desired, rehashing old ideas for a new generation or simply expanding a vocabulary for the sake of trying different things. This should have been a five-song EP.

Rat A Tat Tat (2010) cannot even provide a relevant single (Love is a Dirty Word is the exact opposite of memorable) and the catchiest song, Love is a Chain, sounds like Elvis Costello covering a hit of the Sixties.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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