Collaboration post! Sarca from Caught Me Gaming and Kevin from Buried On Mars take on The Tragically Hip, Canada’s National band! Each week, we will travel through the history of releases by The Tragically Hip, going through EVERYTHING they’ve ever released in audio and video form – studio album, live show, video releases. So don’t forget to check out Kevin’s blog too!
Need to catch up? Previously:
- The Tragically Hip – My “Un-plucked” History
- Review: The Tragically Hip EP (1987)
- Review: Up to Here (1989)
- Review: Road Apples (1991)
- Review: Fully Completely (1992)
- Review: Day For Night (1994)
- Review:Trouble At the Henhouse (1996)
- Review: Live Between Us (1997)
- Review: Phantom Power (1998)
- Review: Music @ Work (2000)
- Review: In Violet Light (2002)
In Between Evolution? Now we’re getting into stranger territory, people.
The next bunch of Tragically Hip studio albums are completely foreign to me, and are definitely fit for a fresh review as I have no point of reference… That said, In Between Evolution…ah…I don’t remember where or when I got the CD.
To start, let’s talk about judging a book by its cover. I dislike the album art of In Between Evolution…the shade of amber, the stylized drawings…I think this might be my least favourite album art design of the Hip’s. Thankfully, I am able to look beyond cover art as I found the album recording overall pretty satisfactory.
I popped In Between Evolution (IBE) in the player early this week and listened while doing some work. At first pass several of the songs sounded like other songs I heard before, or more like songs “a la [insert artist].” Heaven is a Better Place Today starts things off to a poppy rock start reminiscent of early R.E.M.with the guitar stylings of Tom Petty. Summer is Killing Us follows up next, reminding me a bit of Foo Fighters. Gus: the Polar Bear From Central Park with its deep guitar that trails off at the end reminds me of Neil Young. Now, when I say these remind me of other artists – not a negative! I happen to love R.E.M., Petty, the Foos and Neil. All good! I come to find out this album was produced by Adam Kasper, who has worked with *ahem* R.E.M., the Foos, among others that I like. We can see how some of the roots of these songs were set…
Vaccination Scar, the fourth song on IBE, is definitely the one song I recognize from somewhere (likely radio) and reminds me of Interpol (PDA, specifically). It’s one of my favourites from the album. There is some great singing guitar here that tells its own story.
It Can’t Be Nashville Every Night is the one song that comes close to the Hip standard – a great rock tune with a catchy “yea” in the chorus. And it starts with expletives; a great start to a song, I say!
If New Orleans is Beat is the quieter song on the album. It’s a lovely tune, followed by another lovely tune, that is fast becoming a favourite of mine, You’re Everywhere, its lyrics I interpret to be about the plight of adulthood and independence…and no matter how much we try to “never be our parents,” their ways always creeps in, don’t they?
As Makeshift As We Are, track 8 on the album, is the more generic radio rock song, but an enjoyable listen all the same.
IBE shows its need for better track omission with the next three weaker tracks – Mean Streak, the Heart of the Melt and One Night in Copenhagen. Now, I wouldn’t rate these as horrible…not at all. They’re just not as strong compared to the rest of the album, and definitely more forgettable. With a burgeoning 13 tracks to IBE, if ever they considered which to cut out, I’d remove these three.
We then hear some interesting footwork from Johnny on the bass drum in Are We Family, the second to last track, only to be rewarded with another classic rock Hip track in Goodnight Josephine, a decent closer.
Through reflection, the Tragically Hip’s album being called In Between Evolution may be a play on the band’s own emerging evolution; Hip songs evolving into other songs that sound like other familiar artists. I’m not sure, but I really enjoyed this experimentation (whether intended or not). I’ll have to see where the Hip end up in terms of style with their next album. But, as for In Between Evolution, I give it 3/5.
In Between Evolution
The Tragically Hip
Thanks for reading! Now check out Kevin’s take!