Like the Wu-Tang Clan before it, Broken Social Scene has become the musical collective whose beauty launched a dozen solo careers.
Jason Collett has chipped in contributions to Broken Social Scene on each of its past two releases, and unfortunately, that association will probably continue to overshadow his solo output. It’s a shame, because Collett offers a playful and laidback approach on Here’s to Being Here that makes that other group of his seem sadly overblown by comparison.
Collett practically dares critics to call his lyrics “Dylanesque” one more time on album opener “Roll on Oblivion.” Yes, he namedrops Napoleon Bonaparte a couple of times. No, Dylan does not have a trademark on this. Either way, it’s a real gem of a track, and it establishes the mood of casual amusement that dominates the album.
“Sorry Lou” follows with an easy bounce in its step, while “Out of Time” and “Papercut Hearts” offer the set’s most durable hooks. “Charlyn, Angel of Kensington” closes out the first half with a welcome diversion from Collett’s rusty rootsy rock schtick, featuring a bit of bongo mojo by way of Paul Simon.
But then, alas, the dreaded second-side letdown strikes. The song times stretch and the clichés pile up throughout Here’s latter half (a sample: “I’ve got nothing left to lose,” “I’m not over you,” “love hurts”). By the protracted end of “Somehow,” it sounds like Collett checked out a while ago, roaming away from the studio to grab a beer and explore the city.
Still, good on him. He’s out there, doing his thing, plugging away on workmanlike efforts and avoiding any unnecessary flash. Think of him as the Masta Killa of Broken Social Scene.