Broken Social Scene
After being completely blown-away by You Forgot It In People earlier this year, I simply had to hunt down anything else that Broken Social Scene had done. In addition to sharing members with groups as diverse as Do Make Say Think, A Silver Mt. Zion, and others, it turned out that they also released a debut album just two years ago on the excellent Noise Factory Records label (who also released an absolutely stellar disc by another side-project of the group called K.C. Accidental). I already knew that the debut would be a fair amount different, as the bulk of the release is performed by founding members Brendan Canning and Kevin Drew, whereas their new album featured an entire slew of collaborators.
Despite the somewhat narrower sonic field and a much mellower feel overall, Feel Good Lost is hardly a bad album, though. Granted, it's something completely different. It's a warm, (mostly) instrumental disc of subtle post rock pursuits, far removed from the layered experimental pop of the new disc. Truth be told, many listeners of You Forgot It In People might find themselves a bit bored with this older release, as it's less for singing along with, and more for relaxing under a blanket.
The disc opens with a warm bassline and shimmering electronics on "I Slept With Bonhomme At The CBC," a 5 minute trek through frozen fields with guitars that curl around the bassline and provide filligrees of warmth. "Guilty Cubicles" is more of a sketch, as drifting keyboards provide a barely-there backdrop for mingling guitar melodies. "Love And Mathematics" easily recalls the work of another band that the duo shares duties with (Do Make Say Think), as a thick bassline coils around live drumming and quiet guitar melodies tug at the frays.
It's around the middle of the album that you can actually start to tell that it might be the group that put out You Forgot It In People. "Passport Radio" percolates with a muted trumpet and strings, while towards the very end some wordless filtered vocals add another human layer to the swirling sounds. It's not as effective as "Anthems For A Seventeen Year-Old Girl," but it's not so far removed, either. On "Blues For Uncle Gibb," they take things down even a few more notches, drifting off into droneland, only slowly bringing some programmed beats and a skeleton of a guitar melody in towards the end.
It's the shortest tracks that are the least-effective, as the album in general takes its time in reaching the destination. "Prison Province" is basically nothing more than a little bass guitar wankery while "Mossbroker" is about the same with a reverbed guitar. They add little to the album, and it's easier to hear that the stronger ideas are the longer, more evolving pieces such as the album-titled track of "Feel Good Lost." It's another track that builds ever so slowly with warm layers of keyboards and guitars over a programmed beat, but by the time you reach the delicate glitchy keyboard and piano melodies at the end, it only makes them feel like more of a breath of fresh air. As mentioned above, this release might try the patience of those who enjoy the other release by the group, but if you're looking for something slightly slower and enjoy the work of Do Make Say Think and the whole Canadian collective in general, you definitely won't go wrong here.