Review: Broken Social Scene – Hug of Thunder (Arts & Crafts / Universal Music Canada)

Arriving seven long years after their previous studio record, Hug of Thunder is the Broken Social Scene album that many wondered would ever materialize. In spite of the long lay off, the group has delivered an album that is one of the more cohesive, exciting records of its storied career.

After opening with the ambient instrumental interlude “Sol Luna,” Hug of Thunder hits the ground running with the soaring chorus of “Halfway Home,” an uplifting slice of indie rock guitar heaven that reminds listeners why they fell in love with the band to begin with. The remainder of the album is not one-dimensional by any means, though. From the dissonant bass and guitar tones and electro-percussion that dominates “Vanity Pail Kids” to Leslie Feist’s rhythmic, atmospheric vocals on the dreamy title track, Broken Social Scene is back, and sounding as fresh and relevant as ever.