Initially, the plan was for these two EPs from Broken Social Scene - released within a couple of months of each other - to form one record. It was somebody at Arts & Crafts who had the idea to split ‘Let’s Try the After’ in half and drip-feed it to fans. On reflection, the concept’s an admirable one: in an increasingly uncertain world, a steady stream of new music from the Toronto supergroup is akin to a balm for the soul.
It’s still less than two years since ‘Hug of Thunder’, the Canadian outfit’s storming comeback record, and it’s worth noting that ‘Let’s Try the After’ is a different proposition entirely; where that album sought to make a statement that Broken Social Scene were very much back and firing on all cylinders, with all of the group’s more tangential and heavy-hitting members drafted in (Feist, Emily Haines), ‘Let’s Try the After’ swivels back to the songwriting axis that has sustained the group through thick and thin over the years - Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning. Kevin in particular hangs heavy over proceedings, taking the lead on the standout eighties fuzz throwback ‘Can’t Find My Heart’ and solidifying the deep melancholy of the title track with a handsome vocal turn. Elsewhere, there’s typical experimentalism - the electro swirl of ‘Remember Me Young’, for instance - but the whole thing is brought together, as is so often the case with this band, less by sonic cohesion and more by an emotional throughline. Broken Social Scene are still optimistic. Perhaps we should be too.