If someone could condense Spirit If into a chemical drug, they’d make some serious dollars selling it to the eager indie kids on the street. The CD itself is like an amazing acid trip, especially to the virgin ears that have never heard Broken Social Scene. Drew sticks with his usual style of downbeat and gentle, yet sometimes dark, lyrics over layer after layer of upbeat rhythms. Songs like “F—Ked Up Kid” combine lyrics like “I heard there’s a funeral formulating/And they say their lies are better than the tests” with soaring combinations of saxophone and synthesizer that make you expect something a bit brighter.
Quite reminiscent of a drug-induced haze, you get the feeling that you know the whole world’s gone to shit, but you feel too good to give a damn. He effectively gives you the downsides to the trip too, with heart racing jolts produced by the random cacophony of moaning voices and breaking glass found in the midst of the track “TBTF,” which quite appropriately stands for “Too Beautiful To Fuck.” “Frightening Lives” gives an eerie sense of paranoia, and a very dark feeling that makes me a bit thankful for the obscured lyrics.
I was slightly confused when the song “Safety Bricks” ended and wasn’t followed up by something off Broken Social Scene’s You Forgot It In People. The confusion, however, did lead me to realize why this album was released as “Broken Social Scene Presents: Kevin Drew.” He really is the spirit and backbone of the band..
While other members’ solo projects have ventured in different directions, Drew’s stays close to home; he does not stray away from what he’s good at. This album showcases his ability to take instrument upon instrument upon instrument, and turn what would normally be some tumultuous gathering of sounds into a well-constructed song. When picked apart, I found I could appreciate each song individually. But sitting and trying to listen to the whole album through proved to be a bit much. Towards the end, it became background music as I found myself distracted by the pile of homework awaiting my attention. As with most trips, the end is bittersweet.