Like Kevin Drew's kinda-solo effort from last year, Spirit If…, Brendan Canning's new Something For All Of Us is simultaneously a Broken Social Scene collaboration and a personal retreat. The ambience is allowed to swim alongside the hooks and drift away at will. Canning doesn't seem very interested in smashing those elements together the way BSS did on its self-titled 2005 album and 2002's You Forgot It In People. On "Love Is New" and "Hit The Wall," even the international party-time signal of a throbbing bass becomes another trail into introverted static. Canning's layers don't spill all over each other or lock together, they swirl about with uneven density. Sometimes a horn part or breathy vocal pops right out, and sometimes it only comes to attention after half a dozen listens. Except for "Churches Under The Stairs," which harnesses BSS' pop heroics in a pleasant way, Something For All Of Us doggedly avoids immediate excitement and any sense of a cohesive goal. Persistent listeners will find a lot of unwieldy sonics that slowly give up their treats in the lilt of "Antique Bull" and the sneaky buildup of "Been At It So Long." Even if it's a challenge to get to know any of these tracks individually, most reward the effort, making sense of what initially sounds like a frivolous mess.
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