Broken Social Scene Presents: Kevin Drew
(Arts and Crafts)
Sounds like: A Broken Social Scene show around a campfire.
Almost every album released within the Broken Social Scene family tree should be titled “Broken Social Scene Presents,” simply because you really can’t find an Apostle of Hustle record without Leslie Feist performing background vocals or a Jason Collett record without Kevin Drew contributing somehow in the backing band. It’s only logical that most of those artists make an appearance on this record.
Since Kevin Drew probably contributes the most actual songwriting to BSS, there isn’t much distinguishing “Spirit If…” from a BSS album. This isn’t a bad thing, and it actually makes for a comfortable continuation from BSS’ eponymous 2005 album. While “Broken Social Scene” was a fine album in its own respects, it suffered from an overabundance of ideas from the more than 20 musical minds at work on that album. Kevin Drew’s more prominent position over the musical direction of “Spirit If…” allows for more cohesion on this album than its predecessor.
The album shares most of BSS’ catchy shout-along choruses, but it deviates from BSS’ normal template in that there is an emphasis on written songs rather than lengthy jams. Also, the album sounds much more akin to BSS’ B-sides collection, “Bee Hives,” as its songs are rather toned down. “Spirit If…” also shows how BSS’ style is based on Kevin Drew’s musical influence, which is fascinating to see in a band with as many members as BSS.
This album is a worthy addition to Kevin Drew’s legacy of great songwriting and the Broken Social Scene family tree as a whole. But at times it feels like a collection of Kevin Drew’s B-sides. All the same, “Spirit If…” doesn’t contain as many high-quality tracks as other BSS albums, but it is a rewarding listen for newcomers and fans of BSS.