- 2:57 pm - Sun, Mar 16, 2014
- 2 notes
Arts & Crafts
Broken Social Scene has lied dormant for several years. Following 2010’s Forgiveness Rock Record, the Toronto collective has gone into an indefinite hiatus. It’s hard to say if the band will ever wake from that coma, but leader and co-founder Kevin Drew numbs the deflation of this reality with his second solo album, Darlings. Drew’s first record Spirit If was very much a lesser Broken Social Scene record. As a detached phantom limb of sorts, Drew’s solo debut was passively awash in the band’s style instead of commanding it, this dynamic changes on Darlings.
The intimate haze of Darling’s opener “Body Butter” is a pleasant stint evocative of exactly what makes Darlings so successful. The scope of Darlings is immediately reigned in when compared to BSS’ decade long body of work, there is no “World Sick” on Drew’s latest. Generally, the tracks on Darlings are far more personal this time around. Within this restrained scope, Drew’s distinctly elegant earthy lyricism shines. “Good Sex”, like Body Butter, is vulgar in the classiest way possible as it lends a weighty relatability to human experiences in ways only Drew seems to pull off.
Sonically, Darling’s compositions are a collection of musical ideas sharpened in Broken Social Scene’s tenure that are tightly curated and reworked into Drew’s understated effort. The invasive synth of “Mexican Aftershow Party” is reminiscent of Broken Social Scene’s “Chase Scene” but this familiar synth is spliced with considered pacing and restraint to make something that sounds entirely new. The punchy, angular instrumentation of the cheeky “Bullshit Ballad” is reminiscent of a few past BSS songs, but once again feels new here. There’s a a great cohesion to the entire record with Drew’s intuitive sense of pace. The hooks and melodies on Darlings benefit from that dynamic and are far less fragmented and unwieldy as seen on the cumulative pacing on BSS’ records. “First in Line“‘s melody and hook is minimal but catchy and earnest and a refreshingly light way; very few BSS track’s can be described as catchy.
At some point it’s fair to say that Drew is digging up old bones on his second solo record. It’s also fair to argue they were bones he (along with a revolving door of a cast) buried in the first place. It is restraint and timing that push Drew’s latest out of derivative territory. There’s a maturity to the way Kevin Drew acknowledges legacy and a palpable sense of discerning selection. Yeah, Drew is cooking with leftovers but he makes a great meatloaf. Darlings is perfectly pitched, never outstaying its welcome and fills the void left by Broken Social Scene’s absence without being beholden to those expectations in quite the same way.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆