When Canadian collective Broken Social Scene unveiled their comeback single ‘Halfway Home’, it was easy to fall back into their sweeping fold and embrace their atmospheric, euphoric alt-rock once again. But founder member and bassist Brendan Canning had hinted that although it was a “very classic sounding” Broken Social Scene song, their upcoming album ‘Hug of Thunder’ would contain a few curveballs, something to keep fans from thinking that they were simply sticking to a tried and tested formula.
So for the record’s title track, they’ve stepped far away from that grandiose, breathless rush and into quieter, more contemplative territory. Leslie Feist takes the reins, her vocals cool, calm and pretty soothing despite reflecting on how the past can rear its ugly head in the present, becoming the “oxymoron of our lives”. Each element, from Brendan’s bass to the fiddly guitar riff and dusty percussion, wrap around each other effortlessly, leaving enough space for each little detail to be heard. Eventually, its hushed, contemplative tones swell to become a larger, fuller beast, but never loses its subtle heart. Much like what receiving a ‘Hug of Thunder’ must be like, it feels intimate but also grand, comforting yet also electrifying. Embrace it whole-heartedly.