In 2001, a year before releasing their fifth album Gravity, Our Lady Peace suffered a tremendous loss. One of the band's two founding members, guitarist Mike Turner, had opted to leave the band. The reason" Creative differences. Though the split was amicable, it wasn't exactly what fans of the band wanted to hear. The band eventually added Steve Mazur to the line-up around five months later, and in June of 2002 they released Gravity. Compared to past albums such as Clumsy and Spiritual Machines, it's fairly safe to say that Gravity is a very different approach to the alternative rock that made the Canadian band famous. Yes, for their fifth effort, Our Lady Peace has taken their already accessible, mainstream sound and made it even more accessible and mainstream. Seems like the Toronto based quartet was setting itself up for failure, no" Here's kicker. It actually works.
When listening to Gravity, it won't take long for listeners to hear the difference in the band's sound. The various performances on the album feel much more controlled and much more polished. While releases such as Happiness Is Not A Fish You Can Catch and Naveed were not exactly raw, poor quality recordings, the differences between A Story About a Girl and Hope are quite noticeable. Perhaps the biggest change in Our Lady Peace's formula can be heard in Raine Maida's efforts behind the mic. Similarly to what can be heard on the previous album, Spiritual Machines, instead of making use of Raine's extreme falsetto, the band decided it was time for the singer to employ a calmer, more streamlined voice. Like the music, Maida's performances are far more accessible and tolerable for your average listener. So how does the band make up for the loss of virtuosity, unpredictability, and what I suppose can be referred to as their identity" The excellent song writing. Always a staple in the band's works, with the downplaying of previously important characteristics the song writings is as important as it has ever been. And primary songwriter Raine Maida (now that Turner is no longer part of the band) doesn't disappoint, crafting eight of the album's ten songs. For the most part, the music is very well put together, and flows superbly. The catchy hooks are appropriate for the song that makes use of them. And most importantly, the songs are very tasteful and enjoyable. Quite a nice, combination, I have to say.
With drummer Jeremy Taggart toning down his performances rather significantly (save for the thunderous opener, All for You), Raine Maida is now the lone most impressive member of Our Lady Peace on the album. Though as I mentioned earlier, his trademark albeit strange vocal style, the extreme falsetto, has been removed from his arsenal of singing techniques, his expressive voice is still full of charisma and strength. You'd be hard pressed to find a moment where Maida has a weak moment on the album, as he is definitely the most consistent member of the band. Raine's finest performances on the album would definitely be the album's closer, A Story About a Girl, the lead single Somewhere Out There, and All For You. In each of these tracks Maida sounds confident and heartfelt, injecting some much needed energy into the music. Not quite at the same level as in albums of the past, perhaps, but he still does a rather good job.
If I told you Gravity was a well received album, I would be lying. An album which often delves into modern radio rock, it earned Our Lady Peace the dreaded "sell-out" moniker. Whether it was warranted or not is beside the point, as Gravity is a rather enjoyable album. As songs such as A Story About a Girl, All For You, and Somewhere Out There reveal, song writing is a real strong point for the Canadian quartet to rally around, as is the inspiring effort which vocalist Raine Maida puts forward. Even today, nearly five years after the record's release, Gravity still isn't one of the band's more popular albums (though Somewhere Out There is their best selling single), nor is it among their best. But what Gravity is, is a solid slab of radio rock. Quite enjoyable to listen to every now and then, especially the songs on the recommended track list. Not really an essential album, but get it if you're a fan of this kind of rock.
A Story About a Girl
Somewhere Out There
All for You
Do You Like It