Broken Social Scene: "7/4 (Shoreline)"


By Clayton Purdom | 9 January 2008

We were pretty slow at work today. The scattered church-going old ladies in big hats that wandered in found their way to other waiters' tables, and when the unassuming hostess sat some in my section I yelled at her and made one of my coworkers take the table. I was hungover and tired and kinda sad. I sat in the corner of the darkened private party room between upturned chairs, crouched over my iPod, listening to this song over and over and writing this review a thousand different ways in my head. I woke up this gray, rainy Sunday in a state of general melancholy, and everything I saw and every person I talked to all day seemed to be a testament to the validity of my foul mood, all as if to say, "Yes, Clay, the world is shit."

Everything except for this song, which glowed for twenty minutes straight, a propulsive rush of cooing romantics and searing orchestration, an ardent reminder of just how exciting this band really is. This track adds nothing new to Broken Social Scene's canon besides another fantastic song, produced with an obvious ardor for the possibilities of sound. All the hallmarks of BSS are there: a killer galumphing bassline, breezy guitars, throttled drums that make the impossible time signature sound as natural as a manic, beating heart. The group coos the chorus and Feist belts the verse, but delineations like these ("verse," "chorus," etc.) are pretty irrelevant in light of the foreboding breakdown ("It's coming, it's coming in hard!") and the fluidity with which the band switches between sections. And at the end of the day, it finally does come in hard: forty seconds of manic percussion, group therapy instrument thrashing and a horn line that reminds you that all this sonic catastrophe's okay.

It all fades out with a last-second trick, a splendid major key bloom, with Broken Social Scene continuing to slowly, confidently toe the line of greatness. Today I listened to a single song from their new album and it did no less than remind me that there are still good things in the world, still exciting things on the horizon. It's hard to think of the last time a song did that.

*This review was made possible by the fabulous blog "The Shins Will Change Your Life" going down two weeks ago. We miss you, whoever you were.