Broken Social Scene Presents Kevin Drew - Spirit If…
Record Label: Arts & Crafts
Release Date: September 18, 2007
The great thing about this time in music, which I’m sure happened in previous eras, is that when I call You Forgot It In People an indie pop epiphany, there are plenty of people ready to decry me as a fool. This (surely biased) mindset is where I stood before delving into Kevin Drew’s first solo album, Spirit If…. Less-read fans will see the name Kevin Drew and wonder what he could have done to warrant BSS’s moniker on his work – not a huge sin, seeing as there are, at last count, nearly 655 people employed by Broken Social Scene. Kevin Drew is a name you want to remember because there would likely never have been a Broken Social Scene without him. And now he is stepping away from the comforting presence of his friends. Sure, putting the Canadian power-collective’s name on the album cover will get a lot more people to stop and ponder the release, but it also creates haughty judgment. Sweet, sweet judgment.
Spirit If… is wholly Drew’s release in that he is the main voice (figuratively and literally) behind the songs. His lyrics, which are quite impressive, focus mostly on his relationships and the fear/joy of starting new things. Whether he is singing (like on lethargic and twinkling “Gang Bang Suicide”) or the various female members of BSS are filling the frontwoman role (like on the woeful string ballad “Aging Faces/Losing Places”), Spirit If… stays connected. This is truly a feat due to the extreme differences in song types. Take the placement of “Bodhi Sappy Weekend” and closer, “When It Begins.” The former is a slick, catchy pop song that uses electric guitars and light synthesizers to inch the song forward ever-so-slightly, while the latter is an uplifting acoustic effort with pleasing male/female harmonizing and an outro of lo-fi haze. Drew can even be heard leading his bandmates through the song as he reminds them of the words. Actually, “When It Begins” reminds me of Church youth group, albeit much harrier and snobbier (not!).
As Broken Social Scene performs this album, various similarities in (aural) texture will be made. Spirit If… is still pop music for those who won't admit to liking pop music. Though, Drew does take some chances with samples and electronics to great effect (see: “Big Love”). However, the BSS-on-‘roids opener, “Farewell To Pressure Kids,” is the finest track throughout. Maybe it was my anticipation that created this bias, but the track doesn’t disappoint. The song chaotically explodes from the first static-drenched guitar riff into huge drum fills. The vocal production is rough and oozes insanity. Just when all the parts start to overwhelm, the song resolves into a low, woodwind section and weakly layered guitars. The opposing sections of this song represent a larger theme of Spirit If…. Right when we have everything figured out, everything changes. These abrupt alterations keep us on our toes as listeners and prove (yet again) Drew’s ability to construct tightly organized records. If this album were the first we had heard of Kevin Drew and Broken Social Scene, we would probably revere them just the same. Looks like epiphanies are a dime-a-dozen these days.
Recommended If You Like: Broken Social Scene, KC Accidental, 9th grade, Stars, the lure of a new continent
kevin drew owns. seeing broken social scene at lollapalooza 06 completely turned my life upside down. best show i've ever seen, without a doubt, and it was only a 45 minute set. i was gonna get this album regardless of its quality, but i'm glad it's awesome. k. drew is like a hippy who has never heard of california.