Review: Buffalo News on World Container

Buffalo News – Music Discs
3.5 out of 4
For the Tragically Hip, the live setting has always been the medium of choice. Though the band has delivered a half-dozen timeless studio efforts, rarely has the sense of daring, risk-taking and delicate inter-band chemistry the musicians deliver on stage been fully captured in the recording studio. “World Container” changes this paradigm significantly.
Pairing the Hip with uber-rock producer Bob Rock, renowned for his work with Metallica, struck one as odd, initially. The Hip’s Gordon Downie is a wonderfully emotive singer, and just as wonderfully strange, to the point that the Hip has come across as an astute alternative band. Rock is a hard-rock and metal producer, and he doesn’t seem a natural choice for the Hip.
“World Container” delivers one pleasant surprise after another, however, and the first one you’re gifted with is the taut precision of Rock’s production, which thickens the presence of the rhythm section, beefs up the guitars and creates a completely pleasing ground for Downie to stomp around on. This is, by Hip standards, a very accessible record, full of immediately compelling hooks – hear “The Lonely End of the Rink” and “The Kids Don’t Get It” once, and you’ve got two new friends for life – and tightly arranged structures. Downie is glorious within this framework. To hear him baring his soul during the title track, as the anthemic chord progression swirls around him and guest pianist Jamie Edwards lends to the grandeur, is to realize that the Hip is hitting a new peak 20 years into its career.
– Jeff Miers