We Are The Same
Rating: 3 out of 5
Yes they are. And no they aren’t.
The title of The Tragically Hip’s 11th studio album suggests the Kingston Can-Rock veterans haven’t changed a bit. That’s true — in terms of their lineup, anyway. Singer Gord Downie, guitarists Paul Langlois and Rob Baker, bassist Gord Sinclair and drummer Johnny Fay are all present and accounted for once again.
The songs, however, have not remained the same. This earthy 12-song disc actually marks something of a departure from the band’s dependable trademark mix of arena-rock muscle and indie-rock quirk. Despite being helmed once again by superstar producer Bob Rock, this is a moodier, rootsier, quieter and prettier affair than usual, with slower songs, more acoustic guitars and plenty of strings. Heck, Downie even reins in his anxious yelp and outpatient ranting most of the time in favour of more personal lyrics and a more intimate delivery.
Whether they’ve strayed too far from their fans’ comfort zone remains to be seen. But whatever happens, you have to give them some credit for not just dishing out the same-old same-old.
For the rest of the review, and a track-by-track commentary, visit The Edmonton Sun.