Monday, March 8th, 2010

Broken Social Scene – World Sick

Canada’s 78-legged groove machine returns…


Anthony Easton: This is so vague, atmospheric, general, and uplifting — we could have had them play at the Olympics and pretend to be hip, as opposed to Anne Murrary and Bryan Adams, and prove how square we really are.

Erick Bieritz: Broken Social Scene made a big impact eight years ago by fusing together the best elements of different bands playing different styles, combining post-rock with proto-pop in a way that didn’t seem possible beforehand and proved difficult to replicate afterward. If “World Sick” is any indication, then BSS, like the similarly conceived Sea and Cake before it, now has the worst of both worlds rather than the best, with an overlong noodly instrumental mess punctuated by tastefully unconvincing concessions to pop structure.

Martin Skidmore: They could have gone to a bit more trouble rather than recording a first rehearsal, surely? You’d think out of so many people, they could choose a singer who can sing, but no. Perhaps he drew the short straw or something. Tedious twiddling which outstays its welcome by at least five minutes.

Alfred Soto: The convincing churn-and-spew that these guys build and spill evokes an era before Modest Mouse realized they could cram their dynamics into a three-minute single and still land a gold record. But the Mice were/are weirder and crunchier, while these guys are artier and slower. Some call this progress.

Chuck Eddy: I get that there are people who hated prog-rock back in the ’70s yet now believe indie’s alleged current prog stage is, uh, progress. I just don’t understand it. I mean, at least ’70s prog-rock frequently had rock in it. This travesty, meanwhile, is long enough to house two boring indie songs. The point is for the drums.

Matt Cibula: Kind of against this sort of thing on principle, but it might be time to throw out that principle. Lovely sounds here, romantic cymbal splashes, authentic-sounding desperate yearning in the vocals, guitars as big as Thunder Bay. Extra point for winning the hockey gold medal.

Michaelangelo Matos: There are pretty instrumental touches, it builds skillfully, but the song is negligible and the climaxes feel washed out. It seems honest enough, but it’s not for me.

Alex Ostroff: The opening instrumentals sit halfway between You Forgot It In People and something by Studio, and there are some gorgeous textural touches throughout the song. The chorus is vaguely inspirational and explodes through the murk to decent effect. But old-school BSS would ensure that six minutes of build eventually led somewhere – usually a triumphant horn line or a cascade of guitars or…anything, really. As an album track this is pleasant enough, but until I hear more from Forgiveness Rock Record, “World Sick” is leaving me with a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Ian Mathers: The production is fine (no overdriven Animal Collective mush here), the people involved are clearly skilled musicians… there’s just not much of a song here. And while I’m normally fine with a track like this getting by on atmosphere, the song actually has a pretty good chorus (dodgy lyrical sentiments notwithstanding). As always, BSS half-ass it; not slack enough to be narcotically loose, not tight enough to be melodically compelling.

Additional Scores

Doug Robertson: [5]

4 Responses to “Broken Social Scene – World Sick”

  1. Sort of bewildered by the “epic” reactions to this. So it’s kind of long and has a build to it? Didn’t Broken Social Scene crawl out of the dying maw of Mogwai-form post-rock anyway?

  2. No, they were never that loud or ferocious.

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