Our Lady Peace



by Music_Is_My_Life USER (1 Reviews)
April 4th, 2006 | 13 replies

Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

There are many bands that make it big in their home country but never really seem to catch on to any great degree internationally. An example of this sort of thing that remains close to my heart are Canadian alt rockers Our Lady Peace, a Toronto based foursome that emerged from the post-grunge scene in 1994 with their critically acclaimed debut Naveed. Despite its massive popularity in Canada, it didn’t really catch on at the same level anywhere else with only marginal international success. Their sophomore effort, Clumsy released in 1997, was even more successful yet, despite going platinum, the band still didn’t catch on in the States for any length of time. With their third studio effort, 1999’s Happiness…Is Not A Fish That You Can Catch, or Happiness… for short, they pleased both their fans and the critics with what could possibly be their most balanced, consistent album thus far, yet sales plummeted from the highs of Clumsy and Naveed. I don’t understand that myself as I love this album, but I digress.

OLP on this album are:
Raine Maida: lead vocals/rhythm guitar
Mike Turner: lead guitar
Duncan Coutts: bass
Jeremy Taggart: percussion
Jamie Edwards: keyboards

The album opener and first single One Man Army shows the colors of this record right from the start, echoing both the melody of Clumsy and the raw power of Naveed. Opening with a strange, oscillating, siren-like sound, and the song then crescendos into a percussion and bass driven verse with Maida’s vocals once again high in the mix. Launching into the chorus with a bang, one hears once again the excellent use of stops that has become a staple of the OLP sound and the guitars come to life but not so much that they threaten to overwhelm the song. The following track Happiness & The Fish demonstrates a similar dynamic but with a much more frantic edge with another excellent bass groove courtesy of Mr. Coutts.

The songs Potato Girl and Blister work along the same quiet verse/loud chorus dynamic as the opening tracks yet can work as stand-alone tracks very well. We hear the first easily noticeable use of keyboards in Potato Girl with deep chords backing the verses. Though the song is very upbeat, the lyrics are very dark and reference death, loneliness, and paranoia. Blister begins with a soft keyboard and bass intro with Raine’s moody, almost forlorn vocals over top. Things pick up as the guitar comes in with some simple acoustic strumming. A very moody track which nevertheless seems oddly hopeful.

The second single,Is Anybody Home" seems to be about searching for meaning in a society where nothing seems genuine and everyone seems to be obsessed with materialism. The question is left unanswered as he wonders if everyone feels so out of place or if there really is a “home” where everyone feels all right. The song begins quietly with muted vocals from Raine then explodes into the verse with a driving baseline, pounding drums, and a talk box melody that sticks in your head, only to drop off again in the chorus to softly sung vocals backed only by a subdued guitar. The following track Waited slows the tempo down again with a soothing guitar intro by Turner over jazzy drumming by Taggart and simple but effective bass lines by Coutts. The chorus picks things up considerably with some of Maida’s better vocal work on the album. Worth noting are the guitar solos in songs like Is Anybody Home" and Waited which surpass those on any other OLP album apart from, perhaps, Naveed.

The second single, Thief, is a very melancholy song about a girl Raine knew who died of brain cancer and dealing with having someone close to you with a terminal illness. The song is very subdued in the verses with Raine’s vocals really carrying the song over the quiet drumming of Taggart and soothing picking by Turner.
He expresses the helplessness in the lines:
“I can’t see that thief that lives inside of your head
But I can be some courage at the side of your bed
I don’t know what’s happening and I can’t pretend”

The next few tracks are solid but unspectacular numbers that represent the album well, but don’t really stand out. Lying Awake features a pounding bass and excellent use of a talk box and various guitar effects by Turner, with the verses being extremely dark, almost menacing, both musically and lyrically. Annie ups the tempo a bit and is very upbeat yet strange at the same time as Maida sings about a girl who is picked on by her peers and her state of mind and craving for revenge. This song was written just before the Columbine shootings and apparently when Raine saw the news on T.V. he said to the other band members “this is exactly what the song Annie is about.”

The tracks Consequences Of Laughing and Stealing Babies close the album out in strong fashion. The former features a growling guitar and booming bass during the verses in which Raine sings about a person getting out of rehab or a mental hospital and having to readjust to the real world. This song also features some of Raine’s strangest falsetto work as he emits a variety of high pitched, frantic screams that will undoubtedly cause many to skip this track. The album’s closing track, Stealing Babies, is IMO one of the strongest on the album. It features some of the strongest and darkest lyrical moments on the album and creates a very tense, angry atmosphere until about three minutes in where there is a soft, jazzy interlude before the album fades out in a chaotic blend of distorted guitar, keyboards, bass, drums and many other strange effects.

If it seems I was not overly critical of this album, that’s because there are so few weak moments, if any. The only lack that I can see is that it lacks the couple extraordinary songs that can be found on the other albums. While it holds up remarkable well throughout, it lacks that one or two songs that really stand out.

Lyrics, Raine is at the top of his game
Bass work is excellent as is the percussion work by Taggart
Guitars and effects are varied, creative, and interesting, solos are excellent

Lack of tracks that stand out from the rest
Sometimes seems like the whole album sort of blends together

Well, that’s my first review done. It seems a little long but, meh. Any criticism is very much appreciated so long as it’s constructive. Thanks.

user ratings (247)
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Mikesn EMERITUS (5)

Comments:Add a Comment 
April 4th 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

Nice review :thumb:

I was wondering when this was finally going to get reviewed. This was the first OLP album i got and still is one of my favorites from them.

Sometimes seems like the whole album sort of blends together

I don't think of that necessarily as a con though.This Message Edited On 04.04.06

Digging: Pinegrove - Cardinal

Storm In A Teacup
April 4th 2006


Nice review, the tags you messed up, obviously. Here's how you do them,
[ b ]text[ / b ]
Just leave out the spaces, and you're set.

April 4th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

Whoops, just noticed that thanks.

April 4th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

There we go lol. Makes it easier to read doesn't it?

April 4th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

When I say the whole album blends together, I mean that the pace doesn't vary a whole lot from song to song which hurts it a little. I dunno, I was really scrambling for cons cause this album really doesn't have any big weaknesses.

April 4th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

This is an excellent CD I never skip a single song on it. The hooks are massive, and the melodies are great. This may be my favourite OLP album although Spiritual Machines is not too far away.

April 5th 2006


i think you gave a very thoruogh review it is a great album and definitely my fav oh OLP's. raine voice is so uniqure its up there with todd lewis from the toadies. totally dig them both.

June 2nd 2006


I wish I could get my hands on this or any album from this band. They may be the only reason why I will move to Canada In the future.

June 2nd 2006


Is Anybody Home? is a good track. I like these guys, and should check out some of their albums (Have only heard a random song here and there)

June 21st 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

That was a very good review, I think this is their best album to date, I hate to admit, but the band went a little downhill once Mike Turner left. I am surprised that you can't find the CDs, I see them pretty much everywhere, btw this is my favourite band, and recomend them to everyone.

September 11th 2006


Greatest album by them ever no comparision...

Two-Headed Boy
December 29th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5


Oh, yeah, 'cause I was banned

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