mon 30/01/2023

CD: Broken Social Scene - Hug of Thunder | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Broken Social Scene - Hug of Thunder

CD: Broken Social Scene - Hug of Thunder

Force-grown fifth album from Canada’s purveyors of fidgety anthems

Broken Social Scene's 'Hug of Thunder': reluctantly birthed

Hug of Thunder makes its case with “Victim Lover”, its ninth track. For the first time on Broken Social Scene’s follow-up to 2010’s Forgiveness Rock Record, the album takes a breath to focus on the song rather than its architecture. “Victim Lover” is a drifting, lovely reflection with a hazy atmosphere balancing a yearning vocal line against a soulful, gospel-esque chorus.

Up to this point, immediacy has been the emphasis. After a brief instrumental scene setter, Hug of Thunder kicks off with “Halfway Home”, a less-bludgeoning foil to fellow Canadians' Arcade Fire’s revved-up bluster. Before “Victim Lover” each song – whether fast or slow – is defined by its rhythmic chassis and sky-scraping phrasing rather than its melody.

The way the press release tells it, the catalyst for Hug of Thunder was producer Joe Chiccarelli. Mostly on hiatus, the band were playing occasional one-off live dates but Chiccarelli was lobbying their label to say an album should be recorded. Founder member Kevin Drew was talked into it. Fellow co-founders Brendan Canning and Charles Spearin were less keen, but ultimately said yes. The result, with its 15 players and various vocalists including Leslie Feist, is the 53-minute Hug of Thunder.

Although the seemingly reluctantly birthed Hug of Thunder is plainly a Broken Social Scene album – The Flaming Lips meet Arcade Fire with a Tortoise-like, fidgety post-rock underpinning – and assured, it does not feel organic. Recording to order may not have been the best strategy. Hopefully, when the album is taken out on the road the band and the songs will have loosened up.

Songs are defined by their rhythmic chassis and sky-scraping phrasing rather than their melody


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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