Review: Broken Social Scene’s new five-song EP is a reminder of what they do best

Let's Try The After Vol. 1 is dense, clanking, triumphant and nostalgic – and it leaves us hungry for more


Rating: NNNN


Broken Social Scene’s new EP is a sweet and earnest tribute to music making and a short and sweet reminder of the band’s powers. At five songs, it feels like a creative whole – a gentle reminder of how much the Toronto band can still offer and why we should keep listening. 

It begins where BSS’s strength ultimately lies: instrumental. The Sweet Sea ends before it can even really begin – a small swell – but it sets a smooth tone for the songs that follow. The wordless (but not vocal-less) Remember Me Young is a sharp nostalgic pang in the heart. It’s a reminder of BSS’s ability to drive emotional responses through dense, clanking, triumphant sounds. While cacophony doesn’t grant a lot of space to think or feel anything but overwhelmed, BSS have proven over their entire career that they can be trusted to guided listeners to a place through the sound to sweet relief. 

Ariel Engle continues to be a necessary addition to BSS’s current core. On 1972, the shiniest star in the concise five tracks, her vocals careen over trumpets and strategically placed guitar twangs. Engle sounds mournful, even a bit morose, on a track that looks back rather than forwards. But it’s soothing and propulsive beneath its surface. The EP ends on a dance-friendly hymnal with All I Want.

The album can’t help but feel like an appetizer. So, yes, it is too short, but that’s the point. We can be hungry for more, yet still satisfied here. That this is Vol. 1 means there will be a Vol. 2. 

Top track: 1972

Broken Social Scene plays the Danforth Music Hall on April 24. See listing.

@nowtoronto | @sarahsmacdonald

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