Song of the Day: Broken Social Scene “Hug Of Thunder”
The title track from Canadian indie-rock collective, Broken Social Scene‘s fifth studio album, released earlier this year, is a wonderfully low-key number. Driven by an subtlety insistent bass figure, low-key drums and an infectious vocal from Leslie Feist, the song ends up proving to be deeply moving as it unfolds. Feist has a real knack for those moments of subtle (though slightly cerebral) transcendence as “Hug of Thunder” ably demonstrates. Her band mates are more than up to the task of assisting her, with the song exploding into widescreen epic on choruses that name check everything from ecology to Jeff Buckley‘s seminal album, “Grace”. The whole effect is wonderfully cinematic and demonstrates a lot of the qualities that brought the group to prominence in the first place.
Broken Social Scene were formed in Montreal, Quebec in 1999. The 15-member strong collective was initially formed as duo by multi-instrumentalists Brendan Canning and Kevin Drew, with their first record largely consisting of ambient instrumental work. The group was massively expanded, incorporating a number of recently arrived musicians from the Toronto and elsewhere, for the group’s second album “You Forgot It In People”, which proved to be their breakthrough. Additions included alt-country musician Jason Collette, Amy Millan and Torquil Campbell of indie group Stars, and of course, Leslie Feist, who would subsequently breakthrough to the mainstream. The collective ably combines cinematic indie rock with elements of jazz improvisation. The full group contributes songs and switch between being featured leads and support players depending on the song. Despite the size of the group and the variety of artistic voices, Broken Social Scene have managed to retain a coherent musical aesthetic. It is obviously that the members of the collective enjoy playing and collaborating with each other and that comes through in their music.
Broken Social Scene will be playing the 9:30 Club here in DC on September 19th. I have seen them live a handful of times over the years (beginning in 2003) and they never disappoint.