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Album Review: Broken Social Scene - 'Forgiveness Rock Record' (City Slang/Cooperative)

Like old friends too long absent, the expansive Canadian indie rockers remind us of better days

Album Review: Broken Social Scene - 'Forgiveness Rock Record' (City Slang/Cooperative)

8 / 10 The rising babble of ‘Forgiveness Rock Record’’s first track is like that initial moment when reunited school buddies get together in the pub. Just as familiar voices stir dormant memories, signature guitar patterns trigger recall from a dusty cortex, and it’s like you’ve never been apart. With opener ‘World Sick’, the half decade since the Canadian group’s last release spirits away and you’re back in their comfortable realm of soaring and magisterial indie, thinking back to ‘7/4 (Shoreline)’ and ‘It’s All Gonna Break’ and wondering why you fell out of touch.

‘World Sick’ lapses into ‘Chase Scene’, a Ronseal special (not to be confused with a Ronson; there’s horns here but these have soul). As the title implies, it rollicks through your head like the false background through the back window of Roger Moore’s 007-mobile, ending all too soon before you’re barely out of Pinewood Studios. Across ‘Forgiveness…’ there’s countless reminders of why you loved BSS: the sweet harmonies of ‘All To All’, the deflated melancholy of ‘Sweetest Kill’ and ‘Romance To The Grave’, a track that staples languorous strings to shuddering cymbals the way only these old flames can.

The famously sprawling collective have broken down their social scene into just the bare neccessities for this record (seven of them, including four guitarists and three vocalists), but there’s a Gaggle-sized gaggle of collaborators, including members of Stars, Metric, The Sea & Cake and numerous other Torontonian have-a-gos.

It does wander at times; ‘Art House Director’ crashes the party like a mephed-up prick at 4am, totally out of sync with everything else and as trying as a sit-down supper with its titular character would be, and we kind of lose our way like that dazed reveller on his walk of shame home for the next couple of tracks. But by closer ‘My And My Hand’ you’re ready to utter that most hollow of promises: Broken Social Scene, let’s not leave it so long next time, eh?

Tim Chester

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