|Rating: 3 / 5
Reviewer: Michelle Kennedy
Once upon a time there was a band from the mystical and ice encrusted land of Canada called Our Lady Peace. They had a lead singer named Raine Maida whose vocal shenanigans put contemporary pop stars to shame. They were famous and popular and holy shit, they were great! But that was another time, another world, another century. That, dear friends, was the ’90s.
2012 marks OLPs 20th year as a band and Curve their eighth studio album. Those are impressive statistics by any measure but on this rather momentous anniversary Curve falters and, with those first clumsy chords, shows the band’s age. Gone is Maida’s impressive countertenor and massive range; gone is Jeremy Taggart’s taut drill sergeant percussion; gone is the youthful exuberance that brought fans out year after year. In their place, the thick patina of ‘90s nostalgia and a grown-up tired. A near exhaustion proven by the odd and snoozy album closer ‘Mettle’, an “experimental” concept song featuring the voice of Canadian heavyweight boxer George Chuvalo.
But it isn’t all bad. OLP is a band full of competent and skilled musicians that are still, despite all this time, able to create a clean and well-crafted rock record, beautifully produced by long time friend of the band Jason Lader and awash in lush guitar sounds and warm bass tones. ‘Window Seat’ is easily the albums best track and hints and what once was, while, ‘Heavyweight’ the album’s first single, is a solid rock track sliding comfortably into rock radio. Each song still managing to strike a chord with fans new and old.
Maida said he felt like “…people are gonna be pretty surprised where this record goes.” And maybe he’s right. Maybe we are all desperately clinging to who we want Our Lady Peace to be because of who we were. Maybe Curve is the future of a band with a long road ahead and maybe it isn’t. Maybe it’s a last gasp. Whatever it is, it ends with what feels like an unapologetic goodbye; a boxer taking that final hit that sends him to the ropes.