Broken Social Scene are one of, if not my favourite bands. Inevitably I got a bit carried away, and in this case it was largely during the intro of the piece. But I stand by it because it was the only way I could reach the very important line “the heart only ever breaks the same way”. The line itself is questionable, but with all the death and disease in this world there is absolutely no reason why I shouldn’t be able to compare my distress at the potential break-up of my favourite band with the plight of an Angolan beauty queen now, is there?
On September 12, 2011, Angolan beauty queen Leila Lopes stepped on to a stage in Sao Paulo, Brazil to thunderous applause. Lopes had just won the title of Miss Universe. The win was a huge deal, having previously only collected accolades in her home country of Angola – including a Photogenic Award. Which seems like nonsense, but Wikipedia suggests otherwise. Over the following days, Lopes received a plethora of congratulations notes, flowers, and Kinder Eggs. But by the third day, the gifts had stopped coming. By the third day, Lopes’ realised her dream had been forgotten by all those around her, and indeed the world, as it paled in comparison to an event that the whole world had suddenly become forced to come to terms with.
It was on the 15th September that Kevin Drew – frontman for Broken Social Scene dropped the bombshell. In an interview with Pitchfork, he explained that his band would be going on an indefinite hiatus. The untimely interruption in the publicising of Lopes’ victory meant that on that day, the world lost two of the brightest stars of the stage, kind of. The news was brutal, and some still refuse to believe it was true. Broken Social Scene were splitting up… or going on an indefinite hiatus, at least. But it didn’t matter because the heart only ever breaks the same way.
Then, three years later, Drew returned – with some good news. He had a record to release. It would be called Darlings, and it would be his first… no, possibly second solo record. You see, back in 2007, in what Drew called a “marketing move”, he released a record titled Broken Social Scene Presents: The Spirit If… under his own name. The idea was to allow Social Scene to continue to tour without getting everyone back together to write a new record, while also showcasing the solo exploits of the rest of the band, including fellow co-founder Brendan Canning. Sadly, it was only Canning that was able to get another Presents record out before the band regrouped properly for their fourth full-length record – Forgiveness Rock Record.
Drew explains: “There were a lot of personal conflicts around 2006 and a lot of people put a lot of great things behind them and we just thought all right, let’s make another one.”
It would transpire that the release of Forgiveness would mark the beginning of the end of Broken Social Scene. And without any word from Drew about new music since Social Scene finished their fall 2011 tour, fans may not necessarily have been foolish to wonder whether they’d lost Drew from the performance world entirely. Thankfully, then, Darlings was announced with the release of a video for “Good Sex” – the first single from his second solo record.
Pitchfork went on to call the single simply “another fine example of what Drew’s been doing for the past decade: trying to imbue some kinkiness in the grand schematics we expect to be kinda boring, whether it’s monogamy or big-ticket indie rock. “It was a solid assessment, but it’s was an assessment that focused mostly on Drew’s words. And while Spirit If… was very much Drew’s voice backed by Social Scene, Darlings is, lyrically very similar, but with one major change – the band is notable for its absence.
In general, our conversation revolved around the most stripped back sound of Darlings. But first things first, what’s he been doing for the last three years?