ALBUM REVIEW: Broken Social Scene Shows They’ve Still Got It on ‘Let’s Try the After (Vol. 1)’

This supercollective will never go out of style.

Let’s Try the After (Vol. 1) is the new five-track EP from Canadian indie rock collective Broken Social Scene. Like a You Forget It In People or Hug of Thunder in miniature, everything here works and nothing feels superfluous.

The EP opens with the instrumentals “The Sweet Sea” and “Remember Be Young,” a one-two punch reminiscent of “Capture the Flag” and “KC Accidental,” though less memorable.

We get a dose of Kevin Drew’s trademark cynicism on “Boyfriends,” which details how men fail to live up to their partner’s expectations. “1972” features Ariel Engle singing painfully about a failed relationship, as she acknowledges the weight of the phrase “till death do us part.” (Perhaps she fell for one of those disappointing men from “Boyfriends.”) The EP culminates with “All I Want,” a quiet behemoth of a track. Following the somber messaging of the previous tracks, it’s hard not to read the song as an account of self-destruction. The chorus, punctuated by horns and a heart pounding bass drum, demonstrates the power of conviction when love is involved.

Broken Social Scene has been around for two decades, which is long enough for any band to fall victim of their own formula. Fortunately, this may never be the case with these revolving masters of baroque pop. Let’s Try the After (Vol. 1) isn’t a groundbreaking work, but it reaffirms BSS’s confidence in creating powerful, punchy songs that feed off their own expansive atmospheres.

Score: 🏔️🏔️🏔️/5

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