BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE PRESENTS BRENDAN CANNING: SOMETHING FOR ALL OF US... (2008)
1) Something For All Of Us; 2) Chameleon; 3) Hit The Wall; 4) Snowballs & Icicles; 5) Churches Under The Stairs; 6) Love Is New; 7) Antique Bull; 8) All The Best Wooden Toys Come From Germany; 9) Possible Grenade; 10) Been At It So Long; 11) Take Care, Look Up.
Well, er, I suppose that Brendan Canning quickly followed up on Kevin Drew's «solo» album with his own one since he wanted us to insightfully compare his individual artistic vision with that of his partner. The trouble is, once I'd finished listening to Something For All Of Us..., I forgot absolutely everything I remembered about Spirit If..., so, what with this thing about a reviewer's responsibility and all, I honestly went back to Spirit If... and gave it another twist. But then it turned out that, by the time the last song was over, I could not keep in mind even a single thing about Something For All Of Us... So, not wanting to disappoint my readers, I immersed myself once again in Brendan Canning's one-and-only solo oeuvre. It was not an unpleasant listen, but, needless to say, once I finally got down to the review, there was nothing in my head to compare it with. For some reason, Drew and Canning just couldn't share adjacent space in my memory cells. It was then that I finally got it — the two guys' styles are so similar that they act upon each other like two positive charges. Whatever you do, don't listen to them in a row. Put some AC/DC in between, or maybe a full CD of didgeridoo soloing.
Anyway, it's too late to be drawing serious comparisons now, so just a few quick words on whether this «Broken Social Scene Presents: Brendan Canning» thing has any autonomous value, or if it can be used to generate awesome epiphanies in the brain, or if we should encourage the author to develop this style even further. These few quick words, in their correct order, are: it hasn't, it cannot, and we shouldn't. Nice sound overall, though.
Apparently, Canning favours a slightly heavier sound than Drew: there are more distorted guitar parts here, more forceful percussion rhythms, and the anthem-to-ballad ratio seems a little heavier on the anthem side. But none of it matters, since most of the anthems are just straightahead «alt-pop» without any extraordinary melodic content. You know something is definitely not right here when the «element of surprise» on the album consists of unexpectedly encountering a disco bass line on one of the songs (ʽLove Is Newʼ) — as if this decision had some deep meaning (in reality, most likely, it is just part of the same old nostalgic trend, where people raised on disco, even if they thought they hated it when they were in their teens, were still surreptitiously encoded to return to it twenty or thirty years later).
Of the rest, ʽChurches Under The Stairsʼ has some funny falsetto awoo-awooing; ʽAll The Best Wooden Toys Come From Germanyʼ is a short and pretty «ambient-folk» instrumental in the vein of BSS' first album; ʽPossible Grenadeʼ has a powerful riff-based coda; and that's all, folks — everything else is non-descript inasmuch as it can all be described by the small world of formulae long since set in stone. No better and no worse than the average BSS album, I think that Something For All Of Us... should be legally sued for moral damage by the word «something» — and honestly, I'd take something really wild, offensive, and disgusting, like Ted Nugent, over this sterile-packed «Piece Of Mass Art For The Progressively Illuminated 21st Century Art Lover» any time of day. Thumbs down.
Check "Something For All Of Us" (MP3) on Amazon