Broken Social Scene – Hug of Thunder
Comebacks are almost de rigeur in indie rock these days, but still, some seem less likely than others. When Toronto’s Broken Social Scene played the ‘indefinite hiatus’ card in 2013, it seemed likely to be the last we’d ever hear from them – after all, juggling the schedules of an ever-in-flux collective of around 25 musicians can’t be easy, and much less so given the myriad ‘day job’ projects of many of their members (Feist, Stars and Metric to name but three).
And yet! Here we are. Ostensible frontman Kevin Drew was apparently inspired to bring some positivity into the world by the horror of the 2015 Paris attacks, and duly the record comes on like the warmest of family reunions. More than with any of the band’s previous LPs, this is a collection of Proper Pop Songs, and many of them are utterly tremendous: the opening double whammy of Halfway Home and Protest Song is as strident a pair of anthems as they’ve ever written, with choruses exuding the confident swagger of a band that’s aiming beyond the stratosphere.
Hug of Thunder ploughs through emotional highs and lows with an empathetic grace, sometimes decorating its more dramatic moments with swells of brass, ditto its out-and-out rock’n’roll cuts; elsewhere they just let everything hang loose on a light robo-funk groove. The highlight is the Leslie Feist-led title track – a Rubik’s cube of a subtle pop song, with mighty hooks unfolding through complex yet thoroughly rewarding logic – but in truth there’s nothing you’d call a low point. Perhaps realising what they nearly threw away, this is simply the sound of a band having the time of their lives. A delight.
Listen to: Hug of Thunder, Halfway Home, Protest Song