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Broken Social Scene - You Forgot It In People

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Artist: Broken Social Scene

Album: You Forgot It In People

Label: Arts & Crafts

Review date: Jul. 22, 2003

Communal Hip Shake

The sophomore record from Toronto’s Broken Social Scene, figuratively referred to by members as “the cuddle after the cum shot,” is a direct reflection of the group’s own premeditated instability. The lowest common denominator of this nomadic conglomerate is the duo of Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning, who embarked in 1999 on a course that would defy pop music’s standard doctrine, proving that a performing group’s success is a measure of its structure’s longevity. There is no standard line-up in any Broken Social Scene recording or performance, something that extends all the way to instrumentation and set lists. Often spontaneous in their construction, their configurations have ranged from small group pop to medium-scale orchestra that would make a fine bill partner for the Instant Composers’ Pool.

Hooks abound on You Forgot It In People, while transitions fizzle – that is, the record as a whole plays more like potluck rather than linear swatches of a larger theme. Nonetheless, the tracks stand on their own as color-coded segments from a cross-section of modern pop music. The back-to-back doses of “KC Accidental” and “Stars and Sons” are two of most memorable numbers to come from indie music the last few years. The forceful rhythm of the latter calls to Floodland-era Sisters of Mercy, albeit with tame, leathery vocals that intermingle wonderfully with the air of the music. There are also softer moments of transcendent beauty, as in “Almost Crimes (Radio Kills Remix),” where the progression of the music is secondary to the sounds themselves. Perhaps most intriguing about the record is the opening instrumental thematic intimation, “Capture the Flag.” While reminiscent of Vini Reilly’s early architectural mashes with the Durutti Column, the tune plays like an introductory operatic movement that promises resolution even if it’s beyond its own end. The listener is left anticipating the song’s later reprisal, but in keeping with the best handling of tension in art, we get no closure at all.

Simultaneously complex and unassuming, You Forgot It In People has punch that will stimulate even the cagiest listener, curious quirks and all.

By Alan Jones

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