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+

14 Responses to “Our Lady Peace – Curve – review”

  • a boy and his blog:

    agree entirely on spiritual machines. it is an absolute all time masterpiece on the level of paranoid android. love, love, love OLP. just listened to the new album once today and i have to say it hasn’t grabbed me on first spin, but then neither did burn,burn. it is definately a sonic change for them. i’m sure it will grow on me.

    p.s. the first time i saw them live was opening for alannis on her jagged little pill tour. it was between naveed and clumbsy. when they played clumbsy for the first time it was a holy $#!t moment. never understood how that album wasn’t a worldwide smash.

  • Brad:

    I’ve heard 2 songs off of curve (curve and heavyweight). So far so good bc they have been as forgotten as Y2k, since well Y2k.
    HIPT is utter crap and Burn Burn is a Raine Maida solo effort.
    I think we finally hear Steve Mazur step out fr behind Mike Turners shadow. Also….Raine does not seem to be so politically bent as he has been. Stand for something but don’t let politics drown creativity.
    It’s readily apparent it did. I’m glad to see them so sound fresh and like a mature rock outfit.

    I’m commenting only bc the writer saw OLP @ the mofo Cuvby Bear????
    Would love to have been at that show! I’ve see them live 2x and they are a tight band musically.

    • hoydogg:

      Thanks for reading. Yeah Cubby Bear show was awesome. Subterranean on Sunday is about half the size of that even so really looking forward to that.

  • Chris:

    I love this record. Great review!

  • Diana:

    Listening to Curve for the first time right now!
    OLP is one of my all-time favourite bands and I believe, and hope that they’ll, as you said, “get back to the place where they first started making music” and people will realise (or remember) just how great they really are.

    Thanks for posting! 🙂

  • olivia:

    great review! I’ve loved OLP since Naveed. I saw them once already when they did their spiritual machines/clumsy tour (my two favourite albums), and get to see them again in a couple weeks! unfortunately they seemed to lose their way after Spiritual Machines, but i think that curve is a step in the right direction for them. Although it didn’t have the same effect on me that Happiness, Clumsy or Spiritual Machines had on me the first time I listened to those albums, it Certainly beats out their last 2 albums! I think it’ll grow on me.

    • hoydogg:

      Thanks for reading! Yeah that’s a great point. I mean this is a step in the right direction by essentially stepping backwards and remembering why fans loved you to begin with. They’re not tying to make an epic album, just a concise album

  • Graeme:

    Definitely think that this album is a noticeable boost over their last two efforts. I also agree with what you said about the band doing great in the smaller venues even despite their declining popularity in recent years. I remember OLP once saying that “fame” was the worst thing that can happen to them. Hopefully the smaller-scale concerts and the lack of a music label eventually lets them get back to the creative levels that we saw in Clumsy and SM.

  • Ash Williams:

    I have enjoyed listening to this album over the weekend. It’s great to have a band come back from near extinction. Hoydogg, wonderful site. Keep up the good work!

  • Chris:

    Hoydogg, how was the show at the subterranean on Sunday? Saw them at the Bowery in NYC last week and it was pretty awesome.

  • hoydogg:

    They didn’t seem too happy to be playing there. It’s reallllll small. Doesn’t even have a backstage or green room. They were good but didn’t play very long. Played a ton of stuff off Curve and like one song from every other album. I would have liked to have seen more older stuff played but I got to be 5 feet from the stage so I can’t really complain

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