If ever a band spawned more noteworthy expats into the collective music subconscious than Toronto darlings Broken Social Scene, I've yet to find them. In fact, if any name pops into your head, reader, then please, don't withhold. Share and share alike: Who would it be?
Taking the idea of a 'scene' to the next level, BSS is responsible for no less than 20 side projects, solo efforts, and aural experiments. Of them, and most notably, Leslie Feist has arguably reached more popularity as a monosyllabically-named solo chanteuse than she garnered singing BGV's in BSS. Nevertheless, Jason Collett, Do Make Say Think, Metric (and Emily Haines' solo efforts), and Stars among the 20 have all released admirable work apart from the rest of the Scenesters. Last year, BSS co-founder Kevin Drew released his solo album Spirit If... as the first volume of a new kind of collective under the moniker Broken Social Scene Presents. The result was one of the best of 2007, a floundering, woozy romp through the muddy backforests of Drew's psyche.
And now, in 2008, Broken Social Scene presents us with another of its finest: co-founder Brendan Canning's ...Something For Everyone. Canning's influence in the formation of Broken Social Scene's signature sound is as evident here as it was with Kevin Drew's Spirit If..., if not more so. Dirge-like trumpets wail amidst drippy strings and a tangled mass of percussion, the noise of it all punctuated by Canning's smooth-as-milk vocals (slightly less warbled than Drew's, but no less engaging). And there is no shortage of guest vocalists here, as well. At times it's easy to forget that this is Brendan Canning and not the whole gaggle of Toronto kids he's normally surrounded by.
Throbbing beats and revved-up guitars smash into breathy vocals on "Hit The Wall," a song whose melodic hook immediately reminded me of Klaxon's "Golden Skans." Nevertheless, it's one of the album's booty shakers, or at the very least, modest head boppers. Canning immediately transitions to delicate finger-picking and Elliott Smith-like enunciation on "Snowballs and Icicles," one of ...Something For Everyone's more stripped down affairs. "Churches Under the Stairs" revs right back up again, sprinkling tom hits into a mushy soup of guitar squalls and staccato falsetto (this song is the album's resident foot-shaker).
"Love Is New" sashays into vintage porn soundtrack territory with it's funk-infused bassline and bom-chicka-bow-wowww Bee Gees vocals. "All the Best Wooden Toys Come From Germany" delivers 2 minutes and fifty-three seconds of hopeful instrumentation with a scattering of cymbals thrown in for good measure.
For existing fans of Broken Social Scene et al, ...Something For Everyone does exactly what it promises and offers a worthy distraction from BSS's notable absence from the album making process, inasmuch as it doesn't distract at all. Rather, it's a punch-drunk reminder that being called a Scenester isn't an insult if you happen to be one of the countless talented members of Broken Social Scene.