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Album Review
Forgiveness Rock Record

Forgiveness Rock Record
by Broken Social Scene

Arts & Crafts

Review Date
Reviewed by
Brannavan Gnanalingam

Call me confused, but I’ve never really got Broken Social Scene. Sure, they can write some good songs, and their guitar onslaught can transcend at points, but their overall music is, to be frank, kinda unmemorable. Forgiveness Rock Record doesn’t really alter that opinion – adequate songs whose lack of originality or dynamism belies the band’s critical adoration. Forgiveness Rock Record is a bit of a mess, in which the good moments are largely overshadowed by filler and unconvincing doodling, and whose eccentricities sound kinda forced.

Part of the problem is that the album is heavily let down by some truly trite lyrics and some insipid melodies. The band had always masqueraded as somewhat immature in their use of words (despite being read as apparently cathartic or honest), and ‘Texico Bitches’ for example contains some of the most annoying lyric construction heard all year, with a repeated refrain of “Texico Bitches” which sounds adolescently provocative (i.e. try-hard), and which ruins a catchy guitar riff. ‘Ungrateful Little Father’ is almost as bad lyrically, and unfortunately doesn’t have anything good musically to save it. ‘Art House Director’ and ‘Highway Slipper Jam’ meander along with unconvincing melodies, gutting what little momentum the album has by the midpoint. It’s an indictment that the album’s best track, the stomping ‘Meet Me in the Basement’ features no lyrics. Other moments, featuring a who’s who of indie castmembers, feel wasted.

The overall album is funkier and more eclectic than much of BSS’s previous output, but the album does little to work on dynamics or tension or anything which would make this approach particularly distinctive. While their albums have always had a post-rock quality to them, despite them being largely guitar driven songs – album opener ‘World Sick’ works in this way for example - this album lacks the payoff required for such an approach. Forgiveness Rock Record largely misses the mark due to its scattergun approach and half-baked ideas. And while there are some interesting moments such as the pizzicato strings dancing against the propulsive rhythms of ‘All to All’, the Prince-like funk climax of ‘Chase Scene’, or as previously mentioned ‘Meet Me in the Basement’, the overall album is too derivative and too disjointed to be particularly notable.

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