Review: on World Container – November 2, 2006
World Container

For their 11th album Canada’s national heroes team up with über-producer Bob Rock.

When Bob Rock produced Metallica’s self-titled black album, there were cries of sell-out from the fans. Now that he’s at the boards for World Container, could there be a similar backlash for The Tragically Hip?

One listen to the lead-off single “In View” reveals the most optimistic track the Hip have laid down since “Fireworks.” The album kicks off with the power-pop crunch of “Yer Not the Ocean,” and closes with the title track, a sentimental piano ballad. It sounds like Rock is intent on breaking the Hip in the States, despite years of flying under the American radar.

Don’t worry, World Container still feels like a Hip album – it’s steeped in Canadian geographic references, nods to hockey and an overwhelming tension – it’s just dressed up with a lot of studio finery. For the first time ever, drummer Johnny Fay plays rim shots, Bobby Baker’s guitar is drenched in echo and more than once the Hip tap into ska, flamenco and dance-rock variations for the break down.

Lyrically Gord Downie has branched out, too. Some of his poetry is downright syrupy on the page (“Love (Sic)” and “Last Night I Dreamed You Didn’t Love Me” being the prime examples). Much of the record seems preoccupied with his relationship with his daughters, making for passionate delivery. Downie’s voice has the gravitas to make it work and when he experiments with self-harmonies, the payoff is astounding. Lest you think he’s gone soft, check out the stunning album standout “The Kids Don’t Get It,” complete with gut-wrenching wail and boundless irony.

World Container may not have the consistency or impact of 2004’s In Between Evolution, but by pushing themselves (with or without Rock’s influence) the Hip have made a record that shows remarkable growth, even for a band that has shed its bar band status. It doesn’t always work, but World Container is fearless, angry, tender and engrossing, not to mention a great rock record.


1 thought on “Review: on World Container

  1. “World Container is fearless, angry, tender and engrossing, not to mention a great rock record.”

    Good review Jason , thanks for keeping the smug out of the smog.

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