I have been a huge OLP fan since the very first time the staccato bass line of Naveed slithered into my ears with grungy dissonance. I listened to each album religiously and noted the intricate undertones. Every time I listened to an OLP song, I found something new…maybe something subtle that intrigued me to dissect each musical element. Spiritual Machines to this day is my favourite concept album. The abstract album artwork and the quasi-creepy interludes from Ray Kurzweil solidify the undeniable originality and quirkiness I’ve come to expect from the band. I even loved the highly criticized era of “Post Mike Turner” that saw the albums with the seemingly intentional production of more mainstream material including Gravity, Healthy in Paranoid Times, and Burn Burn. I appreciated the effort put into their latter albums as they experimented with sounds and ballads rather successfully…although I did miss Maida’s prominent falsetto. Despite my “drink the Kool-Aid” support of the legendary Canadian band, I was slightly disappointed with their latest release; Curve.
Don’t get me wrong, the music within its own context is solid. Each track is radio-worthy. In the context of Our Lady Peace however, it lacks a sense of urgency and originality. There are still special moments that are distinctively OLP innovations. The album also has subtle traces of Maida’s solo project “Hunter’s Lullaby” but you are left wanting more of that infamous eerie-explosion. For an album that was two years in the making surrounded with promising web streaming of in-studio rehearsals, the result is somewhat under-whelming.
Regardless, there are gems on this album that are redeeming qualities and overshadow the initial missed expectations associated with the inventive history of OLP. One of the most notable characteristics of OLP that survived the test of time is Maida’s lyrical dexterity. I found myself instantly attracted to the ballad “Will Someday Change.” The stripped down element teases you with hints of Raine’s once roaring falsetto softened by stoic piano chording. The bridge is reminiscent of Matthew Good’s “Hello Time Bomb” chorus only more epitaph-ridden. The signature OLP sound is also throbbing in the track “Window Seat.” The changing tempos and raging breathless lines evoke the eerie nuances. A handful of other singles including “Heavyweight” and “As Fast as You Can” are instant crowd pleasers.
In keeping with the longing for an old school revival of Our Lady Peace’s former reputation, I give this album three and a half Arnold Lanni heads out of a possible five Arnold Lanni heads!