Canadian supergroup Broken Social Scene's reputation as The Band that Pitchfork Built has helped and hindered them in equal degrees over the years. While backing from one of the most influential indie music websites around has allowed them to attract the level of audience most new artists would kill for, it has also had its drawbacks as critics question the credibility of their overnight success. Broken Social Scene's sophomore album 'You Forgot It in People' set plenty of tongues wagging and opened doors for a multitude of Canadian artists such as the Arcade Fire, Stars and the Dears. With their latest self-titled release, the seventeen-or-so boys and girls from the ‘Scene are out to prove that they've got something to prove.


Opening with the delicately shambolic Our Faces Split the Coast in Half, the band demonstrate the breezy, atmosphere brand of pop that is swiftly becoming their signature sound. Muted horns and understated vocals lend this track a sense of calm amongst the chaos of the unique percussion. Ibi Dreams of Pavement turns the amps up a notch with distorted guitars drowning out much of the song's complexity. However, its moody interlude gives it texture while horns, marching drums and slightly more forceful vocals help to make it one of the standout tracks.


Broken Social Scene are not a singles band, perhaps the closest thing they've had to such being YFIIP's superb Stars and Sons. The next best thing to be found here is Fire Eye'd Boy. Combining hidden-away vocals with pulsing drums and an inherently pop sensibility, it is bound to be a popular favourite.


One of the risks of such a large collective of musicians is always going to be the chance of over-saturation. Broken Social Scene, for the most part, avoid this potential pitfall – they have the ability to transform aural messiness into a fractured kind of beauty. Very occasionally their wall-of-sound approach becomes a little overwhelming - such as in closing track It's All Gonna Break which, clocking in at twelve minutes in length, outstays its welcome just a little – but in general the band have made an art out of combining complex arrangements into solid pop songs. Their vocal harmonies are sublime, though they could at times be a little closer to the foreground. Perhaps the album's strongest track, Bandwitch demonstrates just what the band is capable of when they allow their vocals to form the centre of a tune. Hypnotic and very beautiful, it is seven minutes of absolute bliss.


There is a lot to like about Broken Social Scene. They create varied and fascinating songs with a powerful sense of mood, yet retain a strong pop aesthetic. Pitchfork be damned, these guys are good.

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