Review Summary: "Burn Burn" is an accessible and entertaining listen, with a few spectacular tracks.
It can definitely be said that Our Lady Peace has changed since the mid 1990’s. This Canadian group arrived on the music scene in 1995 with debut album “Naveed,” which was indicative of-their alternative and post-grunge sound. Our Lady Peace was defined by their perfection of acoustic guitars laced with coarse and distorted electric guitars. Lead singer Raine Maida made a name for himself with his distinct rough, and at times falsetto vocals. The success of “Naveed” was heightened by follow-up “Clumsy” which is arguably the band’s strongest record. The band continued to release critically acclaimed records in the late 1990’s and 2000’s until “Gravity” was recorded in 2002. “Gravity” was criticized for its commercial feel, much attributed to lead single Somewhere Out There
. Maida’s abrasive vocals were gone, instead he utilized a much cleaner, more radio-friendly voice. Our Lady Peace seemed to be on the decline, for 2005’s “Healthy in Paranoid Times” received mixed evaluations.
Our Lady Peace’s “Burn Burn” could easily be considered the band’s comeback album. It’s commercial and accessible, and yet emotional and shows flashes of brilliance. Much of “Burn Burn” is of a mid-tempo style, propelled by soaring guitars and Maida’s powerful vocals. Although the band featured an accelerated and aggressive style in their previous works such as in tracks Superman’s Dead
, this is virtually non-existent here. Lead single All You Did Was Save My Life
, is an indication of this, it shouts with accessibility and simplicity, and is a ready-made top 40 song. Not to say that “Burn Burn” runs entirely on these means. The End is Where We Begin
outlines the record very well; it follows the mid-tempo, soaring guitar formula almost entirely. The album does suffer to an extent due to a lack of variety, although tracks such as Monkey Brains
would beg to differ. Monkey Brains
is the most belligerent song that “Burn Burn” has to offer; it makes tremendous use of heavily distorted guitars and fearful lyrics. “They’re coming after you! They’re coming after you!” Just when you thought the blistering effects would continue, the song breaks completely, into an acoustic and keyboard-driven bridge. Maida passionately sings, “Generations trying to find a home, a thousand miles away from what they know. It's time to go, It's time to go.” Monkey Brains
is undoubtedly the most original and well-developed track on the album, it’s aggressive and beautiful sections are nothing short of brilliant.
does not serve as the only gem of the album however, both Dreamland
and Paper Moon
are more than worthy of mentions. Dreamland
is hopeful and emotional, featuring some of the best guitar work and vocals on the record. The outro is the most powerful section here, lead guitarist Steve Mazur is wailing on his guitar as Maida expressively sings, “I’m not coming down.” Our Lady Peace may have even surpassed the luster of Monkey Brains
with Paper Moon
, for Maida’s vocal range is tremendous, especially with a falsetto on “I was thinking that if you knew a way up, then I’d like to go with you. And we can burn out like candles under that paper moon.” Mazur is shredding like never before on this track, and the outro effect is similar to that of Dreamland
Unfortunately, “Burn Burn” is really only astounding on tracks Monkey Brains
, and Paper Moon
, with nothing else really standing out as excellent. The record itself though, is a solid and an entertaining listen, full of hooks and powerful melodies. A late 1990’s listener of Our Lady Peace would be stunned at the change from the coarse feel of the early albums to a refined and more accessible sound, but the change is not necessarily for the worse.
Never Get Over You