Gen F: Kevin Drew

September 18, 2007


It's Tuesday and that means newwwwwww recoooorrrddddssssss! One album we can recommend you grab is Kevin Drew's Spirit If... The Broken Social Scene founder put together a pretty focused piece of work that is well worth your real American dollars being spent on a real item you can hold in your hands. If you're skeptical for some reason, you can check Sam Hockley-Smith's Gen F on Drew from FADER 48 after the jump.

Grown Folks

Kevin Drew builds from the middle

By Sam Hockley-Smith

On Broken Social Scene’s albums, underneath the haze of effects and the everybody-at-the-same-time moments, there was always the beating heart of the Toronto collective’s leader and lead vocalist, Kevin Drew. On the introspective solo record Spirit If… he’s finally put himself fully on display. The results feel like college rock for the 30-year-old slacker now staring down his ten-year reunion. To further complete this idea, on Drew’s website there is even a washed-out, looping video of him eating cereal and detachedly looking off into the distance.

Made on and off for two years, Spirit If… is full of fuzzed out guitar tones, shimmering keys and vocals that are sometimes buried so deep in the mix that you need a map and shovel to get them. These choices could easily be nods to Dinosaur Jr and Pavement, and considering that members of both bands play on the album, it sometimes seems like a reconstruction. There is optimism in there too though, as if Drew has created an alternate world where J Mascis’ monotone yowl blooms outward into warm touches of banjo and euphoric explosions of horns.

Drew calls Spirit If…a “you and I” album, and even though guests include Gonzales, Andrew Kenny from American Analog Set and the entire BSS crew, Drew is still getting comfortable with how personal the lyrical content is. “If the 21-year-old version of me saw me now, he’d slap me around.” Drew says, “But I’m 30 years old. I can’t do things the way that I did.”

Although Drew describes the theme of Spirit If…as “the confusion of the general day to day,” he counters that confusion with focused and careful sequencing. “Frightening Lives,” which begins its second half, is a startling shift, as if Drew and the listener have been pulled from the same gauzy dream. Propelled forward by mechanical drums and ominous guitar work, it’s also the most compelling song on the album, maybe because it lacks the warm musical cocoon that the other songs build around themselves. “[‘Frightening Lives’] seemed like such an ending song, that’s why I thought I’d throw it right in the middle.” Drew says. “Everyone is addicted to endings and beginnings, so when I produced the record I wanted to make the middle very impactful. The middle is what kept most of our parent’s generation together. The middle is what doesn’t fuck and brings people to war.”

Posted: September 18, 2007
Gen F: Kevin Drew