Published Feb 12, 2019Following considerable touring in support of their first record in seven years, 2017's Hug of Thunder, Broken Social Scene are entering "the after," feeling out what's next as their members continue to work across projects and push themselves creatively.
Let's Try the After - Vol. 1 is a cohesive, soothing and adventurous trip led by the vocals of Kevin Drew, Ariel Engle and Andrew Whiteman; each member steps up to lead their bandmates through a new chapter in the band's continually evolving story. Listeners are pulled into the rich sonic world of BSS, beginning with its instrumental opener, "The Sweet Sea," whose guitars recall those of 2010's "World Sick." The build-up and driving rhythms of "Remember Me Young" are familiar — pensive at times, yet relieved by Engle's healing vocals.
Drew decries toxic partners on "Boyfriends," its soaring chorus and earnest melodies joining with veiled lyrics: "They say they'll try to release you from the golden sign / They say they're gonna keep you from dramatic cries." Carried by steady bass and horn inflections, "1972" features Engle's singing wrapping around the rhythm section before her central refrain emerges.
The EP's pace quickens in its final minutes — single "All I Want" leads with an anticipatory intro before Whiteman takes over on vocals, a welcome voice heard less often in the band's recordings. A strong beat and bass line anchor playful guitar and vocal melodies, culminating in Whiteman and Engle's affirmation: "All I want is you."
Let's Try The After isn't a rehash, nor is it a rebirth. It's a move into the future by a group who know themselves. These songs are confident, seeking, and created of a love for communicating the essentiality of life — what better way to step into the unknown? (Arts & Crafts)