Most indie fans will have a good knowledge of who Broken Social Scene are but only a few will be aware of the original, and considerably smaller in size, incarnation that was spearheaded by Kevin Drew and Charles Spearin. KC Accidental was a much more relaxed and expansive outfit in comparison, favouring long and winding post-rock numbers. It wasn’t quite cinematic music, but they produced material with enough power to let imaginations go wild. Their two EPs, Captured Anthems For An Empty Bathtub and Anthems For The Could’ve Been Pills, were out of print but are now being reissued as a double CD album through Arts & Crafts.
There’s not much difference between the two EPs other than the addition of guests on Anthems For The Could’ve Been Pills (including Metric‘s Emily Haynes among others). They’re both about the same length, have the same number of songs and have similar moods and textures. In hindsight, you do wonder what the potential growth of their sound was; it leaves you feeling hungry for more of it at certain points. However, listening to these instrumentals also gives a clearer understanding of how the building blocks of Broken Social Scene were first cemented.
Captured Anthems For An Empty Bathroom is perhaps the more spontaneous of the two, recorded over a mere five days. And it has plenty of charm. The song Kev’s Message For Charlie opens with exactly that: “This is a message for Charlie, so can you please save it? Thank you” – and, as well as being the first spoken words of Drew’s career as a musician, it builds from there in unexpected ways. Anorexic He-Man has a bustling rhythm that is loose and ramshackle, while Tired Hands is a warm, soothing 12 minutes of bliss.
Anthems For The Could’ve Been Pills takes the sound of their previous release and expands it. More textures are used and more collaborators become involved. Alongside the aforementioned Haynes, Justin Peroff and Jason Collett join the party. It also might be the most recognisable of the two EPs to some, since much of this sound neatly carries over into early Broken Social Scene releases. Its opener, Instrumental Died In The Bathtub And Took The Daydreams With It, is starry-eyed in its sheer beauty and gets better from there. Silverfish Eyelashes is wild and adventurous in its construction as is Them (Pop Song #3333), the only song on either EP with vocals. Is And Of The closes in the same way that Tired Hands does on the previous release and it’s just as wonderful.
There isn’t anything else tacked on to these reissues. But that would have been attempting to steal the spotlight from what really should be the centrepiece. Obsessives yearning to own this as a physical product for years will not be disappointed, but Broken Social Scene fans as yet unacquainted with KC Accidental should also investigate this; give it a few listens to let it all sink in, and you’ll be hooked.