Bob Crock was out as producer (yayy), and Gavin Brown was brought in. Brown was a producer that had worked with the most popular Canadian bands from the late 90’s onward, worked with most of the artists on Canadian Idol, and even worked with Lady Gaga and NKOTB. Perhaps he would bring the band back to their rock roots the way I had hoped Bob would. Let’s find out.
At Transformation – Pounding drums. Booming bass. Amazing guitar work, and haunting vocals. Ten seconds in I knew this album had the potential to be better than the last 2 combined. Then the guitar work gets even more wicked, and Gord’s voice goes from haunting, to wailing, to an angry yell. Amazing song.
Man Machine Poem – The video below was taped at a special event to promote this album in October of 2012. Me and 100 or so of my new found best friends stood in awe as The Hip belted out songs for us 15 feet away. Wow. It was awesome. Then I saw the band close out Ivor Wynne Stadium a few days later. It was quite the week.
The Look Ahead – A song that reminds me of 54-40. It has a catchy beat, and is breezy and fun. Sarah Harmer joins in on background vocals on this one. I can only assume that Gavin Brown made this union possible. Her addition may be the only time I enjoyed an added vocalist on a Hip album.
We Want To Be It – Gord has some punky, angry vocals going on here. Perhaps his angriest ever. The guitar workings of Rob Baker are real cool as well.
Streets Ahead – A fast paced, bouncy song. The difference in Gord’s voice between the verses and chorus is the highlight of the song for me.
Now For Plan A – A mellow song that has a ton of wah pedal influenced guitar that is quiet but not lost in the mix. Sarah Harmer again joins in, and her voice is a nice compliment to Gord’s.
The Modern Spirit – Gord’s voice is the star here. I love the parts of the song were he yells “yeahhhhhh’. I could not stop my fingers and toes from tapping along to this one.
About This Map – Again we have quiet but still amazing guitar. Also, again, Gord’s voice changes pitch. Quiet and mellow at one point, then loud and piercing the next.
Take Forever – Has a similar sound to The Look Ahead. At times Gord sounds like he is singing in a tunnel, then it cuts to crystal clear lyrics.
Done And Done – Cool but subtle wah influenced guitars mix with Gord’s wonderful voice. I love the sound when he sings the “through and through” section.
Goodnight Attawapiskat – Another classroom lesson by the band. Helping us 1)be socially conscious, 2) learn about Canadian history, and 3) search for places we have not heard of on the map. All in a good musical package.
This album is light years above the last 2 albums in my opinion. The packaging and pictures are cool. The musicianship is amazing. The music was left up to the band as it should be, and the lone addition of a vocalist on 2 songs helps the songs out, instead of hurting.