Sunday, August 7, 2011

Still barenaked (minus one lady)

In a nod to busy week/weekend, a companion repost to go along with the Steven Page review.  Fresher material coming...hopefully. ;)

So early 2009, Steven Page was a barenaked lady no longer. Loving their tunes, I wondered, how could they keep it going without him? Several songs were sung by him alone, or a very effective mix of him and Ed Robertson. And their classic "If I Had $1,000,000" was the most sterling example.

So seeing a new disc (All In Good Time) out a little over a month ago begged the thought "So will it sound as good without?" The answer is - pretty much. His voice is missed, but his not being their proves the talent was with all of the band. Jim Creggan and the fragile (but beautiful)-voiced Kevin Hearn take over writing/singing credits on 5 of the tunes - and power their way through each of them with skill and style. The album manages to maintain the BNL sense of humor but still moves far beyond the goofy excess of, say "Stunt" and manages to strike deep down where you least expect. It starts with the opener "You Run Away", a not-so-thinly veiled plea for a friend who gave up on being one in the first place. Ed's anguish is palpable, but it doesn't devolve into emo cliches either. As if to cushion the blow, the sprightly, holding-on-for-better-days tune "Summertime" comes along to liven things up. "4 Seconds" comes across like a long after the fact sequel to "one Week" - almost as if Ed is saying "Yeah, I can still do these." And I do have to give the guy credit for finding something that not only rhymes with orange - but also makes sense. The album continues along this theme till the close, alternating between faster numbers and somber ballads - Creegan and Hearn's numbers proving they have the chops to carry along in Steve's place as the counterpoints to Ed. And quite appropriately, one of Kevin's numbers "Watching the northern lights" closes the whole affair with a dreamy ballad that feels just made for - again, his fragile yet beautiful voice.

It convinced the skeptic - BNL are not dead, and there IS life after Page. Give it a try - worth the time to listen, whatever kind of fan you may be.

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