Broken Social Scene Broken Social Scene + EP To Be You and Me

BSS should cut some members. The eleven mainstays and their guests may provide manpower and a pool of ideas, but the collective need to be brought to order somehow. This album is a sprawl of pretty sounds, but sadly, it suffers from a lack of cohesion. It begins with the pinnacle of what the band seem to have attempted — a frothy symphony of organised, chaotic melody — but beyond this, the album begins to fray. Songs start out with great hooks and then meander, dissolving into noise and occasionally clear solos that sound incidental given the ramshackle pop sludge they spring from. There are still beautiful moments: "Fire Eye’d Boy” is angelic, even if it lacks the clarity that marked tracks like "Cause=Time.” It is, however, immediately followed by "Windsurfing Nation,” replete with seventh-grade-punk-grrl moans and featuring a contribution from K-OS that sounds embarrassing where, I think, it’s supposed to sound cutting edge. The group have either spent too much time on individual projects since their last album, dispersing passions elsewhere, or they’ve gotten too comfortable with one another to sharpen up. There are moments of greatness, but they need regimentation — if less effort was put into making each track sound epic and more into smoothing out a song-to-song flow, the album might surpass its predecessor. The less said about the accompanying, limited edition EP To Be You and Me, the better. There are three actual songs out of seven, good ones that should have replaced weaker tracks on the actual album, and fans will take what they can get. At least it's free. (Arts & Crafts)