Disclaimer: even though I danced to Broken Social Scene more times than I can count, I never really listened to an entire album. I know, it’s horrifying. So I listened to their comeback album “Hug of Thunder” with fresh and uneducated ears.
So, I have to say: this is a beautiful album. It sounds nostalgic and new at the same time. As nearly all great Canadian rock bands, you can hear this communal feeling of way too much talent to fit into a recording studio. The way the voices intermingle in the song “Halfway Home” is EVERYTHING. The whole album feels like an actual show in an old-fashioned theatre where everyone gets their time in the spotlight, a time to shine.
And a time for Feist to shine … I mean on a Broken Social Scene-record. Her solo and titular song “Hug of Thunder” is another one of those amazing Springsteen-homages and might replace Ryan Adam’s “I just might” for the award of “best Bruce Springsteen song not written or performed by Bruce Springsteen”. I am in love with this song.
I think the majesty of this album is the way that despite all in all 18 musicians coming together and celebrating the art of music, the whole album feels weirdly intimate and relaxed. At no point, it’s overwhelming or messy. There’s no chaotic energy, you always have the feeling that everyone knows exactly what they are doing and everyone is in synch for the whole show (the closest you can get to jazz without playing jazz, I guess). And even if the songs differ wildly from each other, they’re all cut from the same cloth. This is a band’s band album.
By the way, if anyone knows who is responsible for the album art work, please tell me, it’s lovely.