Thursday, July 30, 2009

First Listen: Our Lady Peace, Burn Burn

I've kept track of Canada's Our Lady Peace since my college days, and I'm not sure why. I like them almost entirely for Raine Maida's voice - on earlier albums, like Clumsy and Happiness... Is Not a Fish That You Can Catch, Maida would swoop and snarl all over his band's somewhat typical modern rock songs, elevating them. I love "One Man Army" largely for the vocal melody in the chorus, especially the high falsetto sections.

But over time, Our Lady Peace has mellowed into a much more average band, and Burn Burn is depressingly mediocre. These are radio hits polished up and dressed for success. Opener "All You Did Was Save My Life" is one of the safest songs OLP has ever released, and it sets the tone. Only "Monkey Brains" breaks out, with its Iron Maiden rhythm (really!) and acoustic interlude. The rest of this album is as blah as anything Matchbox 20 has done. Considering how much I still like this band's first few records, that's a shame.

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