Broken Social Scene Presents: Kevin Drew, Spirit If…

Ron Wynn

By Ron Wynn

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

While billed as a solo release, Spirit If nonetheless harbors numerous musical links to Drew's longtime Canadian indie rock ensemble, Broken Social Scene. The true distinction is in Drew's vocals — which are sharper, fuller and more confident here than with his band — and a lyrical flavor and stylistic versatility that ultimately seem more personal than collective.

Broken Social Scene co-leader goes it alone. Er, just kidding.

Drew's at home borrowing from folk, country, pop and rock, though the DIY ethic of the indie world seems the most consistent theme. A prime example is “Farewell to the Pressure Kids," all choppy rhythms and barrelling drum licks. By contrast, “TBTF” is both peaceful and sentimental, beautifully sung despite the less-than-subtle titular acronym ("Too Beautiful to Fuck").

Familiar Scene-sters like Justin Peroff, Leslie Feist, Emily Haines and Amy Milan float in and out (and others like J Mascis from Dinosaur Jr. and Tom Cochrane make cameos, but it's ultimately the personality, songcraft and instrumental muscle of Kevin Drew that makes Spirit If an arresting — and often surprising — solo turn.