“Hug of Thunder” album cover

Canadian alt-rock supergroup, Broken Social Scene opened their current tour in Manchester the night following the suicide bombing at Ariana Grande‘s concert.

Whether or not to go ahead with the show was a difficult decision for the band. It did, however, create opportunity for a healing moment. The concert included Johnny Marr (The Smiths, Modest Mouse), who initially cancelled following the attack.

Before introducing Marr as a “Manchester legend,” Kevin Drew said, “What’s most important is that tonight we are here together, all of us, that’s what we can do, and that’s what we’re doing.”

To open the show, Marr and Broken Social Scene performed “Anthems For A Seventeen Year Old Girl”.

Broken Social Scene began the tour in support of their forthcoming album “Hug Of Thunder” with the Manchester show.

“It was a real evening,” said Drew, “we were grateful that we were able to play; we were grateful to see a city the next day come together so strongly.”

The album is out July 7th, which will be their fifth full-length album, and first in seven years. “Forgiveness Rock Record” (2010), was well received critically and reached number one in Canada (34 U.S).

They have debuted four songs from the album so far: “Halfway Home”, “Stay Happy”, “The Protest Song”, and “Hug Of Thunder”.

BSS promises the album will be “overflowing with glorious open chords, multi-voice harmonies, and spacious psychedelia-tinted breakdowns,” which is generally what you can expect from any one of their records.

Half Way Home

“Halfway Home” was the single that broke the band’s seven year hiatus. The song is one of BSS’s most radio-friendly, yet likely the only pop song to feature a nickleharpa (key harp). “Halfway Home” is not BSS at their best, although its large, big band sound shows the band hasn’t lost anything with the break.

The album will feature 15 band members, including founding members Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning, Leslie Fiest, Jimmy Shaw from Metric, Amy Milan and Even Cranley of Stars, Charle Speurin and Ohad Benchetrit from Do Make Say Think, and Leslie Fiest. During their time apart members of the band worked on their other projects, as well as manage their Arts & Crafts music label. Fiest recently released her fifth album, “Pleasure”. Stars have a album out this November, and  Do Make Say Think released their seventh album “Stubborn Persistent Illusions” earlier this year.

During a performance on KCRW the band debuted two more songs, their title track, as well as “Stay Happy”.

“Hug Of Thunder” and “Stay Happy” are considerably more subtle than “Halfway Home”, but nevertheless impressive. It wouldn’t be disappointing if they were the best tracks on the album.

“Hug Of Thunder” will release July 7th.

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