Dear Arts and Crafts (and Broken Social Scene),
You really had me fooled. From the minute you threw You Forgot It In People at me, I was hooked; I pledged allegiance to your label and its output. I trusted you; I considered you a friend.
You kept dishing it out, and even the first song on this record, “Something for All of Us” had me thirsty. It was murky, with driving percussion that just sounded like I needed it. You knew I would just listen to the first song and buy it. I now call you out, tricksters!
There was magic, albeit momentary, then it disappeared. Immediately Brendan jumps into a song that eliminates the magic. It’s really slow, which isn’t a fault, but a majority of the song sounds like he just re-recorded the end of a Broken Social Scene song as the band faded away.
I thought that “Hit the Wall,” with the pace of the song alone would bring it back to the goodness, but there just doesn’t seem to be a focus in this song. I just couldn’t get that feeling back. So you thought you’d let him get away with a soft acoustic song, “Snowballs and Icicles.” It was good, but then it ended – how is one of the better songs on this album the shortest?
So you try and get groovier with the next couple of numbers, but this is when I caught your ploy. You’ve been covering Canning‘s voice over this whole album. Sure, he doesn’t have the greatest range, but it sounds as if you disguised it, hidden behind a mask of harmonies, staying low in the mix.
I got lost in the next couple of songs, spending more time trying to make myself like this than anything else. Even after those two songs, “Possible Grenade” showed me promise, then it just floated way off into nowhere. That’s exactly what happened with the rest of the album, and in time, I am sure the whole album will float off into the back of my collection
I know that Broken Social Scene is a collective of sorts, but I don’t know where Canning fits in. I suppose his ideas are fleshed out by the rest of the band; or else he just completely went far off his usual course here. You unleashed him Arts and Crafts. You let him put out an entire album that meanders in and out of listenability, often within the same song. I hold you responsible for this. I don’t want my money back; I enjoy the majority of your output, but I would like the four straight hours I spent listening to this album back. You owe me. Or else we are not friends.