Written By: Filip Teovanovic
Originality: (4.0 / 5) Vocals/Flow: (5.0 / 5) Lyrics: (4.0 / 5) Production: (4.0 / 5) Average: (4.3 / 5)
Shaken by terrorist attacks in Paris concert hall Batacal, Broken Social Scene, a Canadian supergroup comprised of members from various bands, broke five year hiatus and returned to studio to record successor of 2010 album Forgiveness Rock Records. Their fifth album, symbolically titled Hug Of Thunder, was released under Canadian label Arts & Crafts / City Slang, also a home of some other cool acts such as TR/ST, Royksopp and The Drums. Credits for this album belong to 18 musicians including Kevin Drew, Brenden Canning and dearest Leslie Feist who also suggested the album title and sung the title track.
The album unfolds with “Sol Luna,” a sweet environmental instrumental that serves as prelude to explosive “Halfway Home” in which Broken Social Scene captured the essence of everything they are fighting for as musicians. Long story short, they are against dumbness and radical society. The lyrics are influenced by Springsteen’s power of love and help place this song among the favorites on the whole record. Personally, I experience this song as an exception in their discography, since it is clear that they put an emphasis on getting closer to wide audience in order to spread the important message, rather than on their sonic style. Animal Collective did something similar with My Girls.
“Protest Song” (sung by Emily Haines from Metric), “Skyline“ and “Stay Happy” continue in similar fashion, tentative to reach the same goal. “Vanity Pail Kids” and “Hug of Thunder” wrap up the first half of the album. While “Vanity Pail Kids” compensates for everything Arcade Fire left owning us with their last album, melancholic Hug Of Thunder throws you into contemplation about true values in life that are always worth fighting for. “Please Take Me With You” is, creatively speaking, the album’s weakest moment, but this song simply needed to be included. It belongs here. I mean, who didn’t want to run away when things got bad? It’s all about the fingers, not the eyes, sings Kevin and prepares listener for “Gonna Get Better“, a track cynics will never understand. The closing track “Mouth Guards Of The Apocalypse” is an experimental noise pop, post-rock number, the crown of Hug of Thunder.
Kevin and co. reminds us once again that ignorance and fear are generators of hate and unscrupulous capitalism. Yet, they don’t surrender because the future depends on us. It’s you, it’s me, and it’s all we believe, I’m trying for the living and I am staying so I can leave. These are the most powerful activistic verses from BSS pen. Broken Social Scene never succumbed to trends. Hug of Thunder is one of their most realized and most socially awake albums. It is the album that wants to shake up your reality, If you only let it.