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Curve

3.6 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Curve
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Audio CD, April 17, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Our Lady Peace return with their eighth studio album, curve. Curve is the follow-up to 2009s Burn Burn, and the second done independently. It was recorded in Toronto and at founder Raine Maidas L.A. home studio with co-producer Jason Lader, a friend who became a collaborator, whose impressive resume includes production work on Jay-Zs 99 Problems, along with Mars Volta, Julian Casablancas, Rilo Kiley, Elvis Costello and Noah & the Whale.

The forceful, experimental tone that resulted illuminates the image of the band as battlers, fighting to maintain their standing as a world-class alt-rock group which has steadily built an international following since their 1994 debut album, Naveed. The album exudes that bravado, whether it s the chest-thumping first single, Heavyweight or the anthemic rockabilly feel of As Fast As You Can.
Like Barton Fink, this is our boxing album, nods Raine, pointing out he was inspired by everything from David Bowie to TV on The Radio in the studio. It s like a rite of passage. We made a conscious decision not to take the easy path. It s all about authenticity, proving we re still relevant. This is our journey now, the most realized version of the band. Curve is the record we ve been trying to make for the past 10 years.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 17, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Entertainment One Music
  • ASIN: B007HM32NG
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,491 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Curve, the eighth album from Canadian alternative rockers Our Lady Peace, is the album the band claims they have been trying to make for the last ten years. They hauled out the usual clichés during the pre-release promotional interviews, declaring that they set out to challenge themselves, be more ambitious and push their sound in new directions. Given the so-so quality of their last two albums, long-time fans will no doubt view this as a positive development.

Curve is more of a companion piece to Burn Burn, even though it aspires to be a concept album. Whereas Spiritual Machines examines humanity's dependence on, and ultimately merger with machines, Curve summons its inspiration from boxing. The album cover features a photo of Canadian heavyweight boxer George Chuvalo. Muhammad Ali said Chuvalo was the toughest opponent he ever fought. Chuvalo's drive and resiliency served as the inspiration for the band during the making of the record.

However, the boxing concept is really only explored in two tracks, "Heavyweight" and "Mettle". The former features a fuzzed out guitar hook that eventually transitions to a more traditional uplifting chorus. This is a great choice for the first single: it's punchy, catchy and vocalist Raine Maida even dusts off his patented falsetto - a rare occurrence for him on the last couple albums. On the other hand, "Mettle" is arguably the worst "song" OLP has recorded to date. I say "song" in quotations because it's really just a loose collection of ambient noises and spoken excerpts from Chuvalo. This painfully dull track ends the album on a sour note. While Spiritual Machines also features spoken interludes from acclaimed author Ray Kurzweil, at least those tracks are brief and fit nicely within the overall structure of the album.
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After hearing this album for the first time about a week ago I knew it was going to have a polarizing effect on people. I need to preface this review by mentioning that I've thoroughly enjoyed every OLP album they've ever produced from "Naveed" to "Burn Burn". "Healthy In Paranoid Times", while it's a record Raine was trying to escape from I felt it was a really great record with a nice midtempo vibe and refreshing lyrical content. I've always appreciated that they've found ways to re-invent themselves over the years and keep things interesting. This album is going to be a shock for a lot of people. I can say it took me completely off guard and initially I was disappointed because I was expecting a traditional rock album. A band that had produced such moving songs like "4AM", "Blister", "Clumsy" and "Life" and such driving rock music like "Stealing Babies", "Julia", "All For You" and "Is Anybody Home?" has a truly "heavy" standard to live up to. Have they reached it on this one? Read on and find out.

This album took quite a few rotations from front to back to really start to understand. The entire album as a whole has very dark undertones. The first half of the album has a midtempo feel and the second half is very melancholy and requires attention to really appreciate the more subtle details. This is a very complex record and is going to take some time to absorb, but is well worth the effort.

The opening track "Allowance" is easily the worst opening track they've released. The dated synth lead ruins what otherwise would be a decent song. Thankfully, the synth stops playing about halfway through the song. All in all, it sounds like a B-side from Burn Burn and the poppy vibe is not a good representation of the album.
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Format: Audio CD
After 2 listens I have to say that I'm not impressed at all. Heavyweight is a good song but other than that I just don't get it. IMO Spiritual Machines and Happiness... is their best work to date and this just doesn't even compare. Maybe this thing will grow on me after a while but I doubt it. I understand how artists like to evolve and do something different but I don't get this album at all. It seems like the more self-important bands get the weaker the material gets...
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Format: Audio CD
When listening to an album, I tend to get one of two impressions from it. (1) The album is merely a collection of songs in that the songs are the main focal point; you can cherry-pick the songs you like and play them randomly in any order and not lose anything from the experience. This seems to usually be the case with albums as the market is driven by singles, not albums, and the attention span of the average consumer is more geared toward listening to a 3.5-minute pop song than listening to an entire album. The other option (2) is that the album as a whole is the work of art - the main focal point, and the songs are subsets of the album. The songs themselves may be good, but when listened to as a complete album, they create a synergy that makes the album as a whole greater than the sum of its parts. Say what you will about the music industry or pop culture, I'm not attempting to say one is better than the other, I am merely making a distinction between the two styles as a reference point. The main point is that when listening to Curve, it is very clear that Our Lady Peace intended this to be listened to as an album, not just a collection of songs.

That being said, Curve is easily OLP's most artistic, most innovative, and all around best album since Spiritual Machines. There are some stand out tracks on Curve, however, in listening to them from beginning to end there is a certain feel that seems to permeate throughout the album. Steve Mazur's guitar work is more inspired on this album than it ever has been since he joined the band, and he is finally showing the potential that he brings to the band. Raine's vocals may continue to lack that signature falsetto (with a few exceptions), however he sings with so much emotion on this album that the technique is not missed.
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