Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Old Album Review:
Broken Social Scene - Feel Good Lost

I like to act like I know a lot about music. Truth be told, there are plenty of times someone - a music publication, another blogger, a friend - makes me feel like I don't know squat. Like last night, for instance. I was transferring songs from my Itunes when an orphan track called "01 - I Slept With Bonhomme at the CBC" appeared. I soon discovered that this track was from a 2001 Broken Social Scene album titled Feel Good Lost. Long story short, I Googled the title and found out this was the band's debut album. What? You Forgot It In People wasn't their debut? Just color me dumbfounded.

I suppose I thought the band had sprung fully formed from the ether, a from-the-womb-wunderact. Of course the one track I had from Feel Good Lost was instrumental, which didn't offer much information about this mysterious album.

Flash forward several hours, after I've had time to download, listen, digest.

Not to sound harsh, but it's easy to see why critics and fans have in many ways ignored this album's existence. Take, for instance, the sheer number of instrumental tracks here. Whereas both You Forgot It in People and the self-titled album open with instrumental tracks (make that two for YFIIP), these songs are stage-setters for phenomenal followups. On Feel Good Lost, the band takes a good four tracks to get to the point. "Passport Radio" is the first place we see a recognizable BSS. With distant vocals, a plaintive violin, and blustery horn, it sounds like a bad self-titled outtake. Similarly, "Alive in 85" fails to live up to the exuberance of the eighties or of being alive.

And so on and so forth.

I can see fans of Tortoise or other instrumental artists finding a place for Feel Good Lost in their music collections. Sometimes we all just need music we can ignore. And though I was disappointed not to unearth a YFIIP Part 2, it's intriguing to see the seedlings of what has become a far more polished (and accomplished) sound.

Grade: 50%

1 comment:

SonicRyan said...

Daaaaaaaaaaaaaamn! While I agree that its not my favorite BSS album, its important to remember that its not really even a BSS album. It is one in name, and the core members (Kevin Drew and Brandon Canning are there), along with a few of the other major players (Justin Peroff, Charles Spearin, and apparently Feist), are there, but its not the overwhelmingly large supergroup we've come to know and love through albums like You Forgot it in People, and the self titled.

If anything, Feel Good Lost has more in common with KC Accidental's Anthems for the Could've Been Pills, KC Accidental being Kevin Drew and Charles Spearin's pre BSS instrumental group. Knowing that the two were recording instrumental post-rock even before BSS helps to understand Feel Good Lost's place, and honestly makes the emergence of You Forgot it in People every bit as surprising as it is stunning.