Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Our Lady Peace


Okay, so I am a little behind on this one... but I have a good reason for that!  Last week, I had to pick an artist for the letter O, and I (of course) opted for the Canadian rock band Our Lady Peace.  Then, when I looked up their Wikipedia page, I found out that their new album came out the very next day!!  I then waited to get a copy and decided to listen to it over and over again all last week... so my blogue post here got delayed a few days later than I was hoping, because I really wanted to soak in the new album.

Anyways, I first heard OLP years back in 1996 when I borrowed (stole) a copy of their first album Naveed from a friend. (He was staying on the floor of my bedroom at the time, so it was fair game!)

"Naveed"

I listened that album practically non-stop over the next year, until their next album Clumsy came out, gaining them some US radio airplay.  It was an incredible album stylistically, and was a bit less heavy and more jangly than their first... although I still personally prefer Naveed.

"Clumsy"

The style of their second album matured and carried over into an even better album (in my opinion) called Happiness... Is Not A Fish That You Can Catch.  I consider this one to be highly over-looked, as even fans of the band tend to easily forget that it even existed until reminded.

"Thief"

The next year, the band released a form of concept album based around and named after the Ray Kurzweil book "The Age of Spiritual Machines", about artificial intelligence and its effects on the human condition.  Worked in throughout the album are audio clips of spoken dialogue, submitted by Kurzweil himself.  Spiritual Machines is by far my favourite OLP album and is arguably their best work to date.  (I think the band even agrees with me on that one.)

"In Repair"

After Spiritual Machines, the band lost its lead guitar player, changed producers, and essentially began a new era... Unfortunately, most of this new era kinda sucked.  The next three(3) albums were incredibly lacking in creativity, especially when compared to the four(4) that came before it.

The first came in the form of Gravity, which really just sounded like every other band on the radio at the time.  Sure, they were finding their footing again with a new guitar player, but the songs were standard and conventional, and it really is just my least favourite of the whole bunch.  Some of it even just sounds like Nickelback to me... (and if you don't think that's an insult, then you don't deserve to live.)  There was however one stand-out song that I consider strong enough to have been from the "Happiness..." era: (ie, the following video)

"Innocent"

The next two albums, Healthy In Paranoid Times and Burn Burn, were far better than Gravity, but had the misfortune of being permeated by what I call "power chord stadium rock anthems."

"All You Did Was Save My Life"

These songs were still far better and more typical of the band than most everything off Gravity.  Most of it showed a strong, yet somewhat lacking, attempt to return to their classic sound, and there were even some really unique gems thrown into the mix here and there.

"Wipe That Smile Off Your Face"

...and now we come to the newest album, Curve.  After maybe a good twenty(20) or so listens, I have to say that I really, really like this album.  It was inspired by a tour they did a couple years back, in which they performed both their Clumsy and Spiritual Machines albums in their entirety.  I guess it reminded the band of how they used to not only sound, but write music... and the outcome of that is magnificent.

"Fire In The Henhouse"

Now, I really hope they stick with this current kick they're on, looking back at their older work and being inspired by it without copying it completely.  Apparently their producer also had a hand in their direction by asking "why don't you make a record that you would listen to?" and I someday would like to personally thank that man, as a long-time Our Lady Peace fan, for giving them that advice.

"Window Seat"