Better Be Starting Something (Our Lady Peace, Somethingness review)

Fifteen years ago, I had an opportunity to see Our Lady Peace live at a festival and while I took it upon myself to watch them, I never really appreciated it. They were alternative rockers in an open sea of rock and roll, and their music was good, but not great, in my limited opinion.

mp3s hadn’t completely overtaken the musical landscape just yet, but it was becoming more common for smaller musicians to get attention, and more and more Canadian musicians were cropping up. 

Now, after twenty-six years of activity, are they still relevant?

 

Our Lady Peace – Somethingness

released February 23, 2018
****** 6/10

Our Lady Peace, sometimes known as OLP, are a Canadian rock group that have their roots firmly planted in Toronto. Headed by founding member Raine Maida (vocals, guitar), and longstanding members Steve Mazur (guitar) and Duncan Coutts (vocals, bass), Somethingness is their ninth studio album, and the first since the departure of twenty year drummer Jeremy Taggart, and new comer Jason Pierce.

As I mentioned previously, I’ve seen this group live before, but I have not been much of a fan in their lifetime. This might have stemmed from defiance on my part, refusing to vote with my money simply because a rock group was Canadian, but as I look back on their catalogue, it occurs to me, that these guys really have contributed to the current rock landscape. Maybe not as influencers, necessarily, but by association with with major acts – Foo Fighters, Goo Goo Dolls, Stone Temple Pilots, and Big Wreck all come to mind.

It’s not a particularly innovative album, but as Maida states on opening track Head Down, “I’ll find my place in the sun,” which a mid-tempo song, and a good indicator of the pace to expect for the majority of the record.

Embracing their skill with guitars and penchant for coded lyrics, songs like Ball Of A Poet and Hiding Place for Hearts demonstrate that sound well, and are welcome additions to the album. What I found most surprising of all was how great of a job Drop Me In The Water does of demonstrating the groups strengths, and showing a new generation why their sound was beloved in the 1990s and as a great alternative to the dance-rock and indie folk of the day. Nice To Meet You‘s lyrics are uplifting and topical.

When we get to the last two songs, Let Me Live Again and Last Train, it takes a bit of effort to become reinvested, but Last Train is the most experimental of any of the songs on the record, and a strong point to end on.

 

Pros: As stated already, singles Nice To Meet You and Drop Me in the Water are excellent, as they raise the emotional bar enough to resonate with a broader audience, and they are technically sound too. But best of all is

Cons: Towards the back half of the record, we listen to some even more subdued tracks – Missing Pieces and Falling into Place. These songs feel at odds with the emotional tone set up in the first half of the record.

Runtime: 33 minutes

Points of Interest: OLP initially decided to split the album up into two volumes, releasing the first EP back in August 2017, but after some consideration a full-length album dropped February 23, 2018 which is the subject of this review.

I wish Last Train would have been an opening track, and influenced more of the record. To be considered as a final thought, is frustrating, to be perfectly honest. I would’ve probably written this album off with out it, Drop Me In The Water, and Nice To Meet You in the mix. I hope this is the start of something, rather then a middling effort at the end of a career.

theories Summarized

At the end of the day, I’m not sure I can fully endorse this album for the average music fan. It’s great if you already know about Our Lady Peace, but if you are looking to try them out, I would direct you to Naveed or one of the other first four albums in a heartbeat upon personal reflection.

That said, I do have a Canadian album that I can easily and happily support. The sophomore effort from k-os, an artist who should be considered a national treasure at this point. And if you don’t believe me, I brought Brendon along to show you the finer points of the record.

What a gem he is. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if I’m referring to my co-host or the artist in question! For now, I’ll listen to The Love Song on repeat. 

And remember, if you liked what you saw, and/or enjoyed what you read, please click on the like button, and even better, subscribe to the channel and my mailing list! I’ll be back tomorrow with a film review on Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri. A film which deserved more then it got at the Academy Awards. I have a few theories on what happened…

Tim!

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