Broken Social Scene Presents: Brendan Canning Something For All Of Us...(Arts & Crafts) Buy it from Insound
Brendan Canning, known most for his work with the band he co-founded, Broken Social Scene, demonstrates his solo musical know-how with the latest in the Broken Social Scene Presents series – the same series that launched band-mate and fellow co-founder Kevin Drew's Spirit If....Canning, with Something For All Of Us... (they sure do love those ellipses!) shows off a piece of the musical talent that has made the Canadian indie rock outfit a powerhouse in the genre.
Canning's compositions range from powerful and soaring to quiet and relaxed, and, not unlike the full outfit, he proves capable of making music that's powerfully evocative. Something For All Of Us... recalls moments of Broken Social Scene's Feel Good Lost with its ambience and post-rock leanings and the 2002 hit album You Forgot It In People with vocal harmonizations building atop a combination of synthesizers, horns, and crashing guitars.
In fact, the band's influence on Canning – or Canning's influence on the band – is apparent enough that Chameleon would have fit on the latter release without much trouble. If some sinister soul wanted to mislabel anything as a new Broken Social Scene album, this would be it.
Still, for all the album's similarities, Brendan Canning does ensure more than just a good bit of variety, ensuring Something doesn't end up simply a rehash of rejected Broken Social Scene material: After all, given the quality of the band's first two releases, anything rejected could still be, well, amazing. It's obvious Canning is focused on crafting his own music, and while he does know the style Broken Social Scene has performed so well since their formation, he establishes his own creative voice.
Hit The Wall does enough to sound different while not being outlandish, with nearly droning vocals meshing with upper-register melodic vocals and repetitive guitar riffs combining with ascending trombones – it's still obviously Canning's work, but there's something refreshing in the repetition.
Taking it even further, Snowballs and Icicles utilizes acoustic guitars alongside Canning's signature electronic glitches to take fans of his band on a new sort of musical journey. Love is New takes on R&B and funk, stretching the versatility of the writer's skillset – and it's a joy for tired ears.
Antique Bull is glorious in its harmonies and melodies, opening up the soundscape with piano, acoustic guitar, and a drum kit to set a backing for vocalizations, dropping a bit of the beautiful noise that populates the record.
Canning's writing doesn't falter much through the album, really: None of the tracks are worth skipping – especially the first time through – and there's enough variation that the album can be listened from beginning to end without drawing yawns or looks of exasperation. While it's obvious that, yes, Canning co-founded Broken Social Scene, it's similarly obvious that Canning isn't Broken Social Scene, but an artist with unique quirks, stylistic decision-making, and a style that satisfies weary ears.
Something For All Of Us... demonstrates Canning's ability to maintain a separation of noisy indie rock and his pop sensibilities, and with much success. The latest in a series that's now produced two very good albums, Something For All Of Us... succeeds on many levels and is a testament to Brendan Canning as a solo songwriter and not just as a member of a very succesful band.31 July, 2008 - 07:09 — Matt Montgomery