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.
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.