Review: Broken Social Scene- Hug Of Thunder

artwork bss

A lot can happen in seven years- there is a bigoted idiot in the White House, an uncaring robot for British Prime Minister and a seemingly liberal wet dream presiding over Canada.
The Montreal collective’s new album, released after a seven year hiatus, finds the modern world in an unstable place, and very much reflects this. It’s ambitious indeed, featuring contributions from some fifteen members, and boasts a new guest singer in the shape of Ariel Engle.

It’s soaring, epic stuff. Protest Song is a meta contribution on that very topic, whereas the lead single Halfway Home is a rousing singalong anthem, which is as immediate as it’s slightly aggressive, mired in post-grunge guitars.

The title track sees a more dreamy refrain, a hypnotic psych-tinged slab of pop which builds to a crescendo. The slick production takes no prisoners,with subject matter which feeds into societal angst. Victim Lover even flirts with funk in its jittery flute line, calling to mind Gil Scott-Heron at his most defiant, and Vanity Pail Kids‘ guitars buzz like very angry wasps. Yet, a tenderness and compassion prevails throughout- the spirit remains undaunted.


Photo: Norman Wong

The wonderfully titled Mouth Guards of the Apocalypse is as compelling a closing track as you’ll likely hear all year, siren sounds and droning keyboards building to a cacophony, only to recede back into brass which is not so much a fanfare, as a signalling of the end of days- potentially. Perspective is everything- and from where BSS sit, it’s all about the fragility and the ambiguity in uncertain times; and also the beauty.

(Lorna Irvine)

Out via City Slang on July 7th

Pre-order a copy here:


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