The first thing I noticed when I bought this cd was the Parental Advisory Sticker on the front cover. Wow. Yes there are 5 f-bombs on this album, but they are on 2 songs not played on radio. The album has a song that was a tribute to a young man killed in his prime, so that good karma should outweigh the swearing in my opinion. If Tipper Gore has a problem with the language I have 2 words for her. The first one rhymes with truck, and the second word is the opposite of On.
The band chose Adam Kasper to be the producer on this record. His resume reads like a who’s who, especially with his work with the most famous grunge bands of the 90’s.
Heaven Is A Better Place Today – This song was a dual tribute for a man from my hometown, Dan Snyder, and for young men being sent to war. I mentioned this song on my Tribute to Gord Downie. The song sounds a bit like REM. I really want to love this song due to the theme, but I can only like it.
Summer’s Killing Us – Another song I don’t mind. It sounds like a generic early 90’s band to me, which is enough to give you a feeling of nostalgia, but not much more.
Gus: The Polar Bear From Central Park – Now we get to the meat of the album. The guitar work is amazing, the bass is booming and the drums pound. Gord sings different here as well. Different in a good way, and the background vocals work too. It all works.
Vaccination Scar – Another great song. I really like the guitar sounds. They have kind of a Mike Campbell from Tom Petty’s band The Heartbreakers quality.
It Can’t Be Nashville Every Night – The f bombs grab your attention for a few seconds, and the band keeps you roped in. It isn’t a great song, but a decent Hip song, which is better than most. The band had a brief cameo on the Canadian tv show Corner Gas in which they portray a garage band practicing this song.
New Orleans Is Beat – The beginning reminds me of Nautical Disaster but does not have the history or the lyrical quality. It is not the same quality, but is a nice Sunday AM listen.
You’re Everywhere – This is a really good song, with subtle, yet great guitar work. Also, Gord has a energetic and almost punk like vocal delivery.
As Makeshift As We All Are – This one harkens back to the 90’s as well. I can’t quite place the song, but the beat sounds identical to an early 90’s hit. The guitar work is very brief, and I wish they had included more of the riffs throughout.
Mean Streak – Haunting song that could have well fit on the last album. It seems out of place here, but it is a great song. Mellow at one moment and intense the next. Again, the guitar work is amazing.
The Heart Of The Melt – This has a feel of the early Hip. It could have fit right in on Up To Here. That has to mean it is really good. Rob Baker shines again.
One Night In Copenhagen – No surprise, great guitar work begin this song off. The f bombs flow like water in this one, but they are not unwelcome. They kind of suit the song. The lyrics on this song seem to have more meat than some others on this album.
Are We Family – Another nice, mellow song. The layering of the song with the main vocals blending with the background vocals is a neat touch.
Goodnight Josephine – The guitar work, well you know. It almost has a similar beginning to the song tomorrow by Silverchair. A shout out to Tom McGurk for the excellent horn work added.
I think that Adam Kasper wanted to bring some elements of the 90’s (his heyday) into this album, and they did seem to work in some cases. I wish he had gone towards the harder edged banded such as Soundgarden and Foo Fighters. Instead he choose early 90’s radio friendly songs as his influence. I think this could have been a better album if 2 or 3 tracks were left off. I think the power from previous albums was missing as well.
I must admit that I really, really wanted to love this album. I was reeling at the time as Dan Snyder was a hometown hero that had just been killed. I bought the album and loved 2 tunes, liked a few more, but felt it was one of the weaker Hip albums. Doing this review, I have listened to the songs in more detail, and have found it is a better album than I remember it. The gap between the great and good songs was not as large as I thought it was. I suggest to anyone that wrote the band off at this album to give it a few more listens. Hopefully you can come to like it better than before.