Say this for big crises: They can focus your mind and straighten out your priorities. The need to sort out what and who you value most becomes much more urgent when the crap hits the fan. That need permeates Broken Social Scene’s new album Hug of Thunder.

The 15-person Toronto collective has stayed busy in the seven years between this release and Forgiveness Rock Record. While Kevin Drew, Brendan Canning and Leslie Feist each put out solo albums, other members played with rock bands Stars and Metric. They’ve also reunited for several festival gigs over the past few years.

However, it took the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris to spur the group to write new material. In March, Drew told SiriusXMU’s Jenny Eliscu, “At this time and in the state of the world and everything, the one thing we knew we could do is come back as friends and come back in something that a lot of people told us wouldn’t last. It was important, I think, to all of us to come together because it’s really the only thing that we can politically do at this moment in time.”

Hug of Thunder’s lead single, “Halfway Home,” speaks to that feeling of uniting in the midst of strife and uncertainty:

The album’s music conveys a sense of urgency too. On first listen, Hug of Thunder may not sound too different from Broken Social Scene’s other five studio albums. But hear it after playing Forgiveness Rock Record or their 2003 breakthrough You Forgot it in People and you’ll notice a sharp uptick in intensity.

The group’s ethereal melodies, sprightly drumming, ringing guitars and panoply of voices hit harder here than they ever have before. They add extra muscle to the chin-up sentiments of “Protest Song:”

The title track — which has lyrics written and sung by Feist — might sum up the album’s spirit of solidarity best: