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FORGIVENESS ROCK RECORD

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As the founding fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters of the "indie rock collective” phenomenon, Broken Social Scene sure have spread their seeds since their eponymous third album in 2005. Between the commercial success of Leslie Feist and the myriad “Broken Social Scene Presents” solo outings, some feared that the Canadian supergroup’s next outing would be a lackluster collection of stitched-together notebook ramblings and half-hearted demos swept up from the studio floor of previous sessions. Luckily, the endlessly creative and surprisingly fluid Forgiveness Rock Record dispels any notion of opportunism by sticking to what the group does best: crafting clever, ramshackle, occasionally soaring bedroom pop songs (listen close for sirens) in a big expensive studio. Bolstered by a handful of evenly spaced, arena-sized rockers like “World Sick,” “Forced to Love,” “Ungrateful Little Father,” and “Water in Hell,” the remaining ten tracks flip through genres like a picture book, pausing only to pencil in the occasional instrumental, one of which (“Meet Me in the Basement,” with its huge strings and “guitarmonies”) elicits bigger goose bumps than some of the singalongs. That’s not to say that the guts of the record are filler, as some of the best moments are its most nuanced (Emily Haines, Leslie Feist, and Amy Millan’s breezy, instantly engaging “Sentimental X,” the easy, dusty “Highway Slipper Jam”), proving once again that an army can make a cohesive album if everyone follows the rules of engagement. The core members may be down to nine, with an emphasis on founders Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning, but the “additional members” and “guests” involved (31 strong, when all is said and done) are what make Forgiveness Rock Record unique, especially in an era where bloated membership is so often used as a gimmick. ~ James Christopher Monger