Smiling wildly into the abyss as the world burns is apropos here: it’s sort of the band’s de-facto stance. It’s a necessary one, too, the byproduct of a group 17-strong that, despite it all, has stayed together for the better part of 15 years. Equal parts melancholic and hopeful, Broken Social Scene is at their best when it seems as if they’re singing against the wind, taking on the ills of the world with explosive guitar riffs and a tuned-in chorus of voices.
Hug of Thunder, the band’s first album in seven years, deals heavily in this feeling, particularly with the orchestral closer, “Mouth Guards of the Apocalypse” and the anthem-ready “Halfway Home”—which, like some of my favorite Broken Social Scenes songs, seem to start in media res, building out from its core. Other standouts include the folksy, acoustic driven track, “Skyline” and the noticeably Feist-influenced ditty “Stay Happy.” (I saw her perform the latter live with the band in Toronto last month; there may not be a sexier indie rocker than Leslie Feist.)
Listen to the full album below. Because we can all use a bit of Canada right about now.