Album review

Our Lady Peace

Our Lady Peace : GravityFruit. At last! Our Lady Peace didn't so much explode onto the scene as creep into it, which is a shame as Naveed - the band's debut - was a fantastic album. No, scrap that. Naveed was a formidable album that should have propelled the Canadian band into the stratosphere. Chock-a-block with lyrics and songs most would die for, it was a huge album that was a journey in itself. Most bands will never attain those dizzy heights no matter how hard they try.
    With their second release, Clumsy, the band took a more mainstream approach that took away some of their mystique. Why, I couldn't tell you, but what I thought was their trademark sound was hardly there to hear anymore.
    When Our Lady Peace turned in Happiness . . . Is Not A Fish That You Can Catch, I thought I might be looking at the hammer-shot - the one that knocked the band off the cloud. Not only was the band who once walked the path that lay somewhere between The Tea Party and the The Smashing Pumpkins on the run with no mystique, they had also left behind much of their songwriting bravado. Put it down to the traditionally notorious 'third album syndrome' and move on.
    Spiritual Machines, whilst being a far superior album to . . . Fish, still occupied much of the same (downhill) territory. So, maybe like me - and rightly so - you weren't exactly cueing up at the doors of the record store to pick up Gravity.

What comes around, goes around though. Gravity sees Our Lady Peace with the sparkle back in their eyes. Although from a lyrical standpoint, we're seeing a far more mature band than on previous albums, the musical/songwriting muscle is back in town. With some sweeping splendour, Our Lady Peace have brought in producer Bob Rock and also new guitarist Steve Mazur (so we shall never really know the root of this most successful u-turn) and come up with an album that points them back in the direction they were so confidently heading in the first place.
    Somewhere Out There is just one example of the band at its most dynamic and powerful, and although it may be a little misplaced of me, sometimes, they very nearly hit that Zeppelin stride that many strive for and few fail to match. Likewise with Innocent; the album does have it's quieter moments, but they only serve to prove that Our Lady Peace are as diverse and talented as I knew them to be. Raine Maida's voice meanwhile - the one consistently awesome thing in the bands five album career - only grows stronger with time.
    I wasn't looking for a diamond this time around, but found something very close that sure as hell looks like one . . . and good on Columbia for sticking with them. 'A strong album' as they say in cultural circles. 'Fuckin' A' as we say in ours.

:: Sion Smith

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