Our Lady Peace is one of those bands that take me back many, many years; whenever I hear their song “Superman’s Dead,” I think of seeing them live at Irving Plaza with a dear friend. One of two things I have always loved about Our Lady Peace is that they are simply a rock band; they may have been influenced by grunge and even some Brit pop, but they never fit into those categories. The other thing I love about the band is their humility. They never tried to write a stadium anthem, or even entertained dreams of being the greatest rock band ever. Instead, they have stuck to their singular concept, evolved throughout the years, and can always be expected to put out solid music. Releasing their first album in five years, “Burn Burn” (21 July 2009) proves that after all these years Our Lady Peace is as urgent, vibrant, and compelling as they were when they first hit the airwaves in 1992.
This time around, Raine Maida (vocalist) produced the album. “Burn Burn” is emotive yet not emo, introspective yet not gloomy, power-packed yet not overwhelming. For instance, in the track “The End Is Where We Begin,” Maida sings, “Here I am, waitin’ for one last chance, ‘cause this time we got nothing left to loose. And everything is ruined, but the end is where we begin.” Delivered with conviction devoid of overdramatic or emo bellowing, the music is fast paced and guitar driven. “Escape Artist,” with keys and a constant shift of beats, demonstrates the band’s constant attention to details and ability to compose a single song with more than one emotional mood. In essence, their mission has always been to deliver the most complete experience from listening to a single song.
The album easily sways from out-and-out rock fests to slower paced songs; however, regardless of the actual sound of the song, the emotive and thematic qualities do not lessen or intensify with the speed or lack of tempo. The guitar playing is as mature as the vocals. There is no attempt at flashy falsetto (Maida has one of the best falsettos out there), and the guitar playing, though intricate at times, is not attempting to be virtuoso. That being said, the closing track is perhaps the most amazing track on the album. “Paper Moon” really puts forth a new maturity in sound for Our Lady Peace (with bits of falsetto and a great solo); the song moves, flows easily, between distinct parts – a journey though a luscious, morphic soundscape, which ends abruptly, leaving you wanting more. Tongue-in-cheek when Maida sings, “hipsters trapped in their own irony,” dead serious with, “I was thinking that if you know a way out, then I’d like to go with you,” the song is a culmination of everything that Our Lady Peace is about – emotive, strong craftsmanship, that can make you party along or sit back and think with one song.
There is nothing like throwing on some old music and reliving memories in your mind, but what is more amazing is throwing on new music and having memories rush back. I think I speak for all fans of Our Lady Peace when I say that there is something about this band that elicits a visceral response when you listen to them. It is an experience that is not static; though you know you are listening to something new, a lot comes to mind. This is yet another one of those qualities about this band which amazes me. I spent the better part of the last sixteen hours listening to “Burn Burn,” and I have come away from it being able to say that this album is definitely going down on my must list for 2009. Get this album, see them live – it is an experience you will not regret.
1. All You Did Was Save My Life
3. Monkey Brains
4. The End Is Where We Begin
5. Escape Artist
7. Never Get Over You
8. White Flags
9. Signs of Life
10. Paper Moon
11. Time Bomb – bonus track
12. The Right Stuff – bonus track
Keep up with Our Lady Peace at their homepage, MySpace, and Facebook.
Here is their video for “All You Did Was Save My Life” from their MySpace Video Page.
All You Did Was Save My Life
Catch them live. Check out their homepage for more information on the following dates and future updates.
Thursday, July 23: Ed Fest, Edmonton, AB Canada
Friday, July 24: Summer Invasion, SK Canada
Saturday, July 25: Virgin Fest, Vancouver, BC Canada
Tuesday, July 28: The Troubadour, Los Angeles, CA USA
Sunday, August 2: Citadel Hill, Halifax, NS Canada
Saturday, August 8: Turtle Crossing, Brandon, MB Canada
Saturday, August 8: X-Fest, Brandon, MB Canada
Monday, August 10: House of Blues, Dallas, TX USA
Tuesday, August 11: Antone’s, Austin, TX USA
Wednesday, August 12: House of Blues, Houston, TX USA
Friday, August 14: Center Stage Theatre, Atlanta, GA USA
Sunday, August 16: Theatre of the Living Arts, Philadelphia, PA USA
Monday, August 17: 9:30 Club, Washington, DC USA
Tuesday, August 18: Paradise Lounge, Boston, MA USA
Thursday, August 20: House of Blues, Cleveland, OH USA
Friday, August 21: The Fillmore, Detroit, MI USA
Saturday, August 22: Vic Theatre, Chicago, IL USA
Sunday, August 23: Verizon Wireless Theatre, Maryland Heights, MO USA
Saturday, August 29: The Great New York State Fair, Syracuse, NY USA