Broken Social Scene - Hug Of Thunder - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Broken Social Scene - Hug Of Thunder

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:8 Release Date:2017-07-07

And they’re back. They should have never left though, but Broken Social Scene has finally produced a new album, Hug Of Thunder, after seven years of silence. With the Toronto collective, it was always about commitment and, well, about being a collective. The two things were always something that attracted listeners and various scribblers (or so-called reviewers like me) but were also the two factors that pushed listeners (and others) away.

Liking their commitment was always the thing of whether you had a close or same outlook as they do, and theirs was always a positive, pro-active one. This time around, as the story goes, they got back into action after the terrorist attacks in Paris. Many people got really downtrodden by these and other horrible events, before and after, but for Broken Social Scene, it seems to be a call to action with an attempt to stimulate positive action and see things from an angle that can bring positive change. Personally, I don’t see why that would be a problem and why somebody needs to have a negative outlook to react to a horrible event or events. In that respect, I salute them.

As for the fact that they keep on operating as a collective and the music they come up with, that certainly has both its positive and negative effects. With Broken Social Scene the collective element was never just simply an idea - they always did, and still do, engage as many people as they can on every project, Hug Of Thunder being no exception - 19 (nineteen!) musical heads were involved - from Kevin Drew and Leslie Feist to Amy Milan, Brendan Canning and others.  When you have so many talented people with good ideas around, and all that can be heard here again, you get great ideas and great musicianship in one place. Same here. Great material dominates - Protest Song, Stay Happy or the title song, to name just three, show all Broken Social Scene can offer.

On the other hand, there’s always too much of a good thing, when ideas, even good ideas, clash or simply smother one another. There are such lesser points on this album - it happens here and there when melodies or instrumentation try to jump out of the swarming sound and breathe. Fortunately, such moments appear seldom and too far in-between and you have to nitpick to find where they detract from the overall quality of the music.  And as usual, the vocals, playing the arrangements are all almost spotless. What is also quite important, all the songs on Hug Of Thunder have a great live potential, and hopefully Broken Social Scene still sound great live as the time I heard them a while back when they were at their peak (and not as many as 19 people on the stage). Oh, and they are obviously still going to be positively engaged. And they should be!

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