Broken Social Scene returns with "Forgiveness"
By Jason Lipshutz
NEW YORK (Billboard) - With new albums by the Hold Steady, the National, LCD Soundsystem and Band of Horses scheduled to hit stores within a three-week span, the beginning of May has become blockbuster month for indie rock releases. No one could be happier about the indie stars aligning than Kevin Drew, singer/guitarist of Toronto collective Broken Social Scene, whose fourth album, "Forgiveness Rock Record," will be released May 4 in the United States.
"Me and (Hold Steady frontman) Craig Finn wanted to start a campaign for kids to skip school on the day our records come out," Drew says. "I feel like it's a great time for the return of a lot of bands."
The difference between "Forgiveness" and the other releases is how long it took to come together. Broken Social Scene -- whose gritty art-rock dazzled the indie scene with 2002 sophomore disc "You Forgot It in People" -- hasn't issued any new material since its self-titled third album in October 2005.
The band remained active after the release, embarking on a lengthy tour and composing the score to 2006 film "Half Nelson." But Drew says there were some "slightly turbulent times" trying to manage the band's many members and dozen-plus regular collaborators, who include Leslie Feist and members of Canadian bands Metric, Stars and Do Make Say Think.
"It was a little scattered," Drew says. "When you have a big group of people, it's hard to find a ground to stand on."
Drew released an intimate solo debut, "Spirit If ...," under the "Broken Social Scene Presents" tag line in 2007, and singer/bassist Brendan Canning issued a solo album the following year. Drew decided to bring Broken Social Scene along for a tour in support of his album in 2008. With the addition of guitarist Sam Goldberg, the band rounded into a core six-piece lineup and regained its composure.
"The solo record was therapeutic for (Drew), and when it came to the tour, it didn't make sense to put a whole new band together," band manager/Arts & Crafts president Jeffrey Remedios says. "With all the touring and solo material, it also helped to leave people with a thirst for new music."
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