Review: Hug of Thunder by Broken Social Scene

Hug of Thunder by Broken Social SceneFirst off, isn’t it nice to have them back? And not just fragments of the group, but essentially, well, everyone. It’s been seven years since Broken Social Scene released an album, and the unique set-up of the band means everybody is busy with their own stuff, making a collective record involving almost all of the members hard to organize around. But Hug of Thunder feels like a greatest hits of sorts: Leslie Feist returns for her first lead vocal with the band in over a decade, and there are also contributions from Emily Haines, Amy Milan and Andrew Whiteman (and, of course, Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning). As is wont with most of their albums, the pacing can seem a bit off – the middle bit sags, but the songs individually stand strong – and there’s an irresistible crush of weary optimism that the Polyphonic Spree can’t really replicate. But their songs, of course, feel… weary. Forgiveness Rock Record, their last release before their self-imposed hiatus, feels that way, but events mean there’s an urgency that echoes more in Hug of Thunder – and that’s just the way we want it. [NB]4/5

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