In the run-up to Broken Social Scene’s first album in seven years, we’ve heard multiple facets of the Canadian collective including its full-charging rock side and its sweeping anthemic side. However, in the run-up so far, we haven’t heard BSS”s blissfully weird side. We haven’t heard the part of the band responsible for “Looks Just Like the Sun” or “Anthems for a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl.” That’s the part of the band that arguably is its greatest distinguisher from any potentially like-minded indie rock outfits.
That minor oversight in the launch of new album Hug of Thunder ends today with the joyfully angular “Stay Happy.” That the band can cram in both tender “da da das” and genuine riffage into the same four-minute tune is a testament to just how adept they are at swimming through multiple channels of their sound. The staticky chorus freakouts call to mind Embryonic-era Flaming Lips while moments of that aforementioned riffage almost resemble the Dirty Projectors’ snaking guitars circa Bitte Orca. Some of Broken Social Scene’s greatest tunes to this point have them sounding almost nothing like what they’ve done before. So it goes with “Stay Happy.”