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View Full Version : (alt-rock) Our Lady Peace- Happiness...Is Not A Fish That You Can Catch


Stayne
12-22-2003, 03:22 PM
http://www.amzmusiczine.com/12_99/pix/ourladcd.jpg

Our Lady Peace- Happiness...Is Not A Fish That You Can Catch
Columbia Records 1999

Raine Maida- Vox, Rhythm Guitar
Mike Turner- Guitar
Duncan Coutts- Bass
Jeremy Taggart- Drums, Percussion

Track List
1.One Man Army
2.Happiness & The Fish
3.Potato Girl
4.Blister
5.Is Anybody Home?
6.Waited
7.Thief
8.Lying Awake
9.Annie
10.Consequences of Laughing
11.Stealing Babies (feat. Elvin Jones)

NOTE: I'm aware that OLP are kind of difficult for others to get into. They are one of my favorite bands, and this review is written more as a description of the album by a fan then an unbiased review. I believe in Raine's voice, so any comments about leaving out the words "shrill and weasel-like" are not welcome as valid criticism. Thank you.

Happiness... is the Canadian alt-rock heroes' third full-length, and it shows remarkable progression past Naveed , their first LP, and even the perennial favorite Clumsy . Raine Maida decides to stretch his vocals on this record, both metaphorically and literally. The lyrics are more solid and heartfelt than before, and Raine's voice (arguably the maker or breaker for listeners) is in strong suit here for inflections and exaggeration. Mike Turner, now no longer a part of the band, flexes his formidable noise-guitar prowess with ever more unique solos. Coutts, an excellent bassist, almost renders a the need for a rhythm guitar obsolete and abley covers the low end of the band. Jeremy Taggart ranks as one of the most talented drummers out there nowadays, and is horribly underrated as one.
The album opener "One Man Army" was also the first song released as a single. It apparently features a sample from Terminalhead?s "Underfire", but you'd be hard-pressed to identify what exactly that is. Maida's lyrics are excellent on this track, with lines like, "take this gasoline tin, head up high/walk like a winner/let the bare feet be the last sound that they hear".
"Happiness & The Fish", the second song, is obviously the title track of the album and actually manages to fit the album's awkward full title into one of the lines. Featuring an exuberant, Sonic Youth-esque solo from Turner, this song is possibly the highlight of the entire CD.
The third cut, "Potato Girl", is oddly reminiscent of Clumsy , and sounds like an outtake from those very sessions. It fades in from strange sounds, almost an Our Lady Peace trademark now thanks to their behind-the-scenes fifth member Jamie Edwards on keyboards. The verses are quiet, moving to loud and then dropping off for a couple of lines before the chorus explodes. It?s a great song in a mid-nineties style.
Next on the disc is "Blister": debuted at Woodstock '99 months before the album's release, this version of the song takes it in an entirely different direction. Swelling keyboards introduce the track while Raine begins to croon in an almost Robert Smith style. Stick in another abrupt, slightly louder chorus, and this song is perfect for the whole of the album.
The second single "Is Anybody Home?" also happens to be one of the best songs on the record. Again, the main focus is on an unusual vocal-hook/chant by Maida. The rest of the band follows it to a T, and the song achieves a fantastic feeling near the end when the band seems to slow down and then kick back into the song louder and groovier. Highlight of the album.
"Waited" begins with a unique and controlled delayed guitar figure courtesy of Turner, and only gets better from there. The real achievement of this song is the bass playing of Duncan Coutts, who manages to only add to the quiet of the song even with some pretty funky bass lines. But the anthemic chorus of "I must be too dumb to be proud/'cause I waited here" is nearly as great.
"Thief", the third and final single off the record, is based on the true story of a girl Rained and his wife Chantal Kreviazuk had befriended named Mina Kim. Mina had incurable cancer, and her life touched Raine greatly. The original track even fades out with a sound sample of one Kim's visits in the hospital. This song stands out greatly on the album as the best example of songwriting, but after hearing it so many times on the radio even it gets a little tedious. Turner's guitar sounds like a piano, and Coutt's bass provides the backbone.
Cut number 8, "Lying Awake", is a great song. Unfortunately, it doesn't really stand out that much. While certainly not album filler, it's worth mentioning that since the recording of this album, the song has never once been played live.
"Annie" is Our Lady Peace's take on the then current Jonesboro/Columbine situations. As usual, it's a very unique song and features some of the strangest electronic percussion on the record. Raine manages to almost sound happy and childlike when discussing children and shotguns, which by itself is an achievement worth noting.
"Consequences of Laughing" holds claim to being one of the absolute weirdest OLP songs in terms of both voice and instrumentation. The song kicks off with bass and drums supporting nothing but a single-pitch siren wail and Raine orating "Uh-oh". It?s very weird, but undoubtedly cool.
The final track "Stealing Babies" has a guest appearance by famed, late jazz drummer Elvin Jones in the percussion infused outro. But the song begins unassumingly quiet and has the very unusual structure of two completely different songs blended and chopped up.
Happiness...Is Not A Fish That You Can Catch is one of Our Lady Peace's crowning achievements; one that many fans feel has never really been improved upon. The subsequent album Spiritual Machines was very similar song-wise and awfully pretentious with its concept, and last year's Gravity was a concentrated pop-effort with the producing talents of Bob Rock instead of the OLP mainstay Arnold Lanni. With the musical future of Our Lady Peace in mind, Happiness... merits a solid 4/5.

Raijo
01-23-2004, 11:30 PM
Our Lady Peace is one of my favourite bands and I'm just wonder what you're trying to say with that whole Spiritual Machines being "awfully pretentions with its concept," comment, I thought it was a brilliant concept. Anyway, Waited, Annie, Happiness and the Fish, One Man Army, Is Anybody Home and Consequences of laughing are stand out tracks to what I think is a pretty good album.

hybridofsound
01-24-2004, 12:32 AM
It isn't hard to put a record better than Gravity out IMO and this is better than Gravity but nothing great. I agree with the reviewer 3/5.

Note: What's with all the ? marks in the review?

cobainism2003
02-15-2004, 11:46 PM
This isn't my favorite OLP album though it is great, i love OLP, and i don't agree with the Spiritual Machines comment, Spiritual Machines is my favorite OLP album, those vocal tracks are just freaky, but anyways Happiness is a good album and Raines's vocals are great, but OLP really is a band that you either like or hate and it's hard tog et into them if you don't liek the style

jackblack
04-04-2004, 12:52 AM
Listening to it now. Mike Turner is the reason I started playing, back when i was twelve...he's turning 41 on Jun 5th!!!! he could be an original member of Metallica with those years behind him...he's as good as Hammett, also...he has so much more feeling in his solos, and they are every bit as hard to duplicate (and i would know)...just less complex...anyway, this is my fav. album by OLP, the one i have everyone listen to when giving them my 'philosephy on life'...incidentally, Mike Turner has a post-OLP fan page at www.emtee.org, where some of his basement projects can be downloaded.

The solo on 'potato girl' makes my heeeeeeeeeart skip a beeeaaaaaaaaat for awesomeness. anyway, great album, very emotional and throught-provoking. If your a very sensitive person, i would go as far as saying it could change your life...

robnathanson
04-04-2004, 09:24 AM
this is my third favourite OLP album, after Clumsy and Gravity

ScorpSath
04-06-2004, 06:47 PM
This is a great album, Its an amazing alternative rock record. 5/5

guitarded_chuck
04-06-2004, 07:18 PM
Whats the album with the cover as a guy on the trapeeze? Or whatever? Clumsy is it? Meh, it's my favorite. I'd go look for it, but I'm lazy.

I wouldn't call them "Canadian alt-rock heroes". But yeah, they are alright.

Porn*
04-08-2004, 03:44 PM
Naveed is their best... and they wont ever be able to top that!

BlastCap
05-22-2004, 10:34 PM
I loved this album, along with their Live CD. It was even better than all the rest, mainly because live is so much better!

Stayne
05-25-2004, 07:05 PM
It isn't hard to put a record better than Gravity out IMO and this is better than Gravity but nothing great. I agree with the reviewer 3/5.

Note: What's with all the ? marks in the review?


Heh, wow. I originally did the review in Tahoma font, and it looked a helluva lot better than this. I'm sorry guys...

About the Spiritual Machines concept being pretentious...well, while I wrote this thing I was more into down to Earth type stuff and was just commenting on the whole "concept album" idea....SM is close to my favourite OLP album, so don't get the wrong impression...

As for the Naveed lover there...Are you joking? It's a great album, but they've constantly topped it...although "Denied" is loverly....

I'm gonna go edit the review again now. Didn't expect it to pop back up again, honestly...

Porn*
05-27-2004, 04:12 PM
Heh, wow. I originally did the review in Tahoma font, and it looked a helluva lot better than this. I'm sorry guys...

About the Spiritual Machines concept being pretentious...well, while I wrote this thing I was more into down to Earth type stuff and was just commenting on the whole "concept album" idea....SM is close to my favourite OLP album, so don't get the wrong impression...

As for the Naveed lover there...Are you joking? It's a great album, but they've constantly topped it...although "Denied" is loverly....

I'm gonna go edit the review again now. Didn't expect it to pop back up again, honestly...
I guess we have different tastes... i like their harder stuff personally.

jackblack
10-04-2004, 10:57 PM
I guess we have different tastes... i like their harder stuff personally.

Harder...like....i'm guessing you mean Naveed rather than Gravity?

sorry....without Mike, i just didn't like Gravity as much as the rest...and Clumsy was the first album I ever bought!

Yeah. I FOUND MIKE TURNER'S SEMI-BIOGRAPHY IN THE ENCYPLOPEDIA OF POPULAR MUSIC!!!!!!!! i am beyond ecstatic.

Oh, and may i point out that Mike's true genius is not very well recognised/appreciated...the many, many artificial harmonic riffs heard throughout the songs (particularly the 'world explodes' line of Thief), the post-solo-solos that are smothered by the vocals...and that Lying Awake is quite noteworthy for the best solo Mike has ever recorded...in my opinion, of course.

for a taste of exactly what i mean, listen to the end/drum solo of Stealing Babies. Those really weird sounds playing, like...i dunno...robots dying or something? it's all Mike messing with the harmonics and bendings on his guitar (a gibson les paul, if im not much mistaken)...

so. Yeah. Glory to Mikedom.

Zesty Mordant
10-04-2004, 11:47 PM
this was an alright album, nothing special really

in fact the only thing i like about OLP nowadays is when the drummer comes onto the dean blundell show on Edge102 (in Toronto). man is he ever hilarious.

mike100
10-24-2004, 09:32 AM
Naveed>Happiness...

Good review.

Dancin' Man
10-24-2004, 09:48 AM
I like Spiritual Machines better. That and this are their two top albums. Gravity sucked because Raine wasn't going balls out with his voice.