As the front-man for Broken Social Scene, Kevin Drew is hardly Thom Yorke. In fact after Jason Collett, Feist and Emily Haines, Drew is the fourth most recognizable name in the Toronto collective.
Spirit If… is the first in a series of "Broken Social Scene Presents" albums, the next one being from BSS co-founder Brendan Canning. Surprisingly, the baby of this series doesn’t stray from its father, producing many of the same textural, multi-layered and somewhat inconsistent music that has defined Broken Social Scene. Of course the release wouldn’t be proper billing without splattering many of the familiar BSSers (Feist and Haines make contributions, amongst 23 guests).
In many ways, Sprit If… delivers as a spin off, evoking too much of its predecessor band to stand-alone. Although this might be planted as a “concentrated effort,” it’s all give or take with songs like "Tbtf" ("You are too beautiful to fuck"). In typical indie-experimental fashion, there is the elongated experimental drone of “Gang Bang Suicide” which in Andy Kaufman fashion, seems to be only amusing Drew.
But there are quite a few highlights here that include J Mascis contributing vocals and guitars to "Backed Out on the…," Spirt If..’s most rocking composition, while Feist charms up “Aging Faces/Losing Places” in her familiar Starbucks style. With a little more direction, Spirit If.. has the makings of a winner, instead it has too many B-sides mixed with the good stuff to award Drew higher status on the Broken Social Scene name chain.