Some say that less is more. But for Canadian indie-rock band Broken Social Scene, more is, well, more fun.

Broken Social Scene

Forgiveness Rock Record
Arts & Crafts

After a five-year hiatus, the band members all pressed pause on their respective solo or side projects to create a new record for BSS fans. And their most recent joint venture, Forgiveness Rock Record, reflects this reunion — the album feels like old pals rekindling their friendship by jamming out to their favorite tunes.

The eclectic ensemble of artists (the ever-changing cast ranges from six to 19 musicians) forms a musical clique so unique that it is difficult to constrain Broken Social Scene to a single, specific technique. On Forgiveness Rock Record, the group utilizes each bandmate’s individual strengths to create a bold composite of sounds.

The album layers various textures of instrumental bursts that mingle with the vocals of BSS’s frontmen (and women). The energy remains positive throughout the whole album as band members contribute their works of musical artistry. Electrified and amped-up rock jumps in between semi-electronic dance grooves and granulated burnouts. Although not exactly coherent, the different tracks on the album come together in routine BSS fashion.

The new songs bring a transcendent party atmosphere to the already-boisterous world of Broken Social Scene. “Art House Director,” with its baroque horn section, enlivens Forgiveness, as does opener “World Sick.” Clamoring drums and upbeat strums intermingle with the track’s softer patches.

Lisa Lobsinger lends her velvety vocals to a lo-fi guitar production that is synonymously paired with an equally rich string section on one of the album’s more airy tracks, “All to All.” Forgiveness takes yet another twist with the inclusion of “Highway Slipper Jam,” a more rustic, folksy anthem with twangy acoustic guitar and soft-spoken melodies.

Forgiveness provides multifaceted works of randomness with six-minute liquid instrumental trail-offs and fast-paced arrangements like “Chase Scene,” in which the Canadian rockers create a track vivid and picturesque, with swift percussion and up-tempo strings. “Chase Scene” is reckless, wild and a standout track on the album. It sounds quite different from anything one would have heard on BSS’s 2003 triumph, You Forgot It In People.

Forgiveness provides its fans with a taste of everything. Loosely strewn together with varying reverb, the album as a whole is a tad disheveled, but the individual tracks do Broken Social Scene some justice. The creativity of the individual members is what makes this album peak — each track brings something new to the table, even if, collectively, they may be disjointed.

The Toronto-based collective has assembled here yet another leading album in the indie-rock world. Broken Social Scene probably chose the title of their fourth album to encourage fans to forgive them for not producing a worthy rock record in the past five years. With this latest album, it’s OK to forgive — but Forgiveness is not a record to forget.

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