Recent “loudness wars” notwithstanding, dynamics in music have very little to do with actual volume. That dB meter can flicker any way it wants — human beings still tune in to shifts in style and mood more than audio overload. And on those terms, I think the new BSS album may already have a lock on most dynamic record of the year.
BSS themselves are famously dynamic, with membership fluctuating between a maximum of 15 and the new minimum team of six (not counting “guests”). And they haven’t put out a record in five years — at least not a “proper” release, if you don’t count solo projects and offshoot ensembles.
This might explain the epic yearning that is toploaded on Forgiveness, from the horn-tastic deluge of opening sprawler “World Sick” to the cinematic schizophrenia of the aptly titled “Chase Scene.” But it’s also clear that head BSSers Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning are not satisfied just trying to bring every tune to an otherworldly climax: they take the record down odd detours like the inner-sanctum ballad “Ungrateful Little Father” and the æthereal wash of album closer “Me and My Hand.”