Broken Social Scene: Forgiveness Rock Record

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Broken Social Scene: <em>Forgiveness Rock Record</em>

Canadian collective’s latest is just too much

The last time I saw Broken Social Scene live, in November 2008, what struck me most about the loosely arranged collective’s sound was how jammy it had become.

Previously taut three-minute rock songs unspooled into meandering epics, to sometimes-exhilarating and sometimes-exhausting results. Two years later, the band has given this frustrating sound a name: Forgiveness Rock Record.

Whereas BSS’ two previous albums indulge the group’s pop sensibilities while showcasing its knack for rock anthems, Forgiveness cremates and scatters these strengths over an intimidating and overwrought runtime. For every driving, vibrant track (“Forced to Love” and the aptly named “Chase Scene”), the band forces others that are ponderous at best (“All to All”) and pointless at worst (“Highway Slipper Jam”). Perhaps Tortoise’s John McEntire, who co-produced Forgiveness, imbued his noodling post-rock tendencies on a group that was already itching to stretch out; perhaps BSS just needs to reign it in. Regardless, brace yourself for how this record will translate live—we’re in for some slow jams.