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Our Lady Peace – Curve – review

Just over a decade ago I was convinced that Our Lady Peace was poised to become the biggest band in the world of Rock N’ Roll.  They had just released Spiritual Machine, their Ray Kurzweil influenced masterpiece.  It’s one of the most ambitious albums I have ever heard and is a watermark in alternative rock during that time period.  Instead an interesting thing happened.  Our Lady Peace released Gravity, the complete opposite of Spiritual Machines.  It consists of the softest and most mainstream songs they’ve ever released, and while I still enjoy it as an album, it fell mostly on deaf ears.

OLP began to fade from the limelight, and another band, Coldplay, became one of the biggest bands in the world along with Radiohead, and Foo Fighters. It seemed their shot was gone.   Healthy in Paranoid Times was released in an attempt to regain the creative spark of Spiritual Machines. There are hints of that there, but once again as an album it came up short.  I was pretty sure I had heard the last of Our Lady Peace, especially after lead singer Rain Maida released a solo album and attempted to embark on a solo career it seems.

I forgot all about them when Burn Burn was released in 2009.  The album is probably their most stripped back and straight forward rock album since their debut, Naveed. They toured extensively behind the album, and  I got to see them in a half empty house at The Vic here in Chicago.  I also got to see them a few months later at a club about 1/4 the size of that in Wrigley, The Cubby Bear.  This I thought was the demise of one of my favorite bands of the past decade.  One thing stuck out in my mind  about them as I stood in a crowd of near no-one…they still rocked.  They played that Cubby Bear show with the same intensity that they probably played stadiums with, and they probably enjoyed it even more.  A loss in popularity gave them a chance to start again essentially, and get back to the place where they first started making music.  Burn Burn is a fantastic attempt at that.  Their new album Curve, is perfecting that.

Curve is 10 songs with no filler in between.  It sits somewhere between their first two albums Naveed and Clumsy.  Songs like Fire In the Henhouse, As Fast As You Can, and the first single Heavyweight could stand up to the hardest of rockers in OLP’s catalog.  The album still showcases OLP’s epic flourishes for songs as well like, Find Our Way (my personal favorite), and Rabbits.  Curve is easily their most well put together album since Spiritual Machines and really shows that Our Lady Peace is able to branch out in some new directions, while still diving in to their earlier work and taking the raw, aggressive style of some of those great songs like Superman’s Dead, Naveed, and Julia, just to name a few.

Our Lady Peace used to be one of my favorite bands, and then I kind of fell away from them for a bit.  With the release of their last two albums I’m starting to come back to them, and hopefully fans begin to start coming back to them as well.  They are currently playing a series of very small club dates across the US, and I have the luck of getting to see them at a super small venue here in Chicago, Subterranean.  If you can catch em they are a must see, and if you’ve ever been a fan, Curve is a must listen.

Grade: B+