Once again I get reminded how hard it must be to end a novel. John Boyne’s The Absolutist could have ended perfectly on page 292, and instead we get a “60 years later” that takes us to page 309. It’s not as useless as some codas, however, and either last line is haunting.

Boyne called The Boy in the Striped Pajamas a fable, and while that book was heartbreaking, I can see how this one is more honest. If you’re a lover of character, this story of “the Great War” is for you. The first person narration is never hackneyed; the book asks and answers questions at the rate we want, never too quickly or too slowly. There’s a sympathy for the human condition that overrides all.

OLP Overproduced

April 7, 2012

I didn’t have  specific expectations for Our Lady Peace’s new album Curve, but had high hopes based on the first single, “Heavyweight”.  I loved the track because it combined some of the band’s best sounds…the rawness of pre-Spiritual Machines, the upbeat rock of post-Spiritual Machines, the creativity of Raine’s solo stuff.

My reaction to my first listen of  the album was underwhelming. I thought this was because it was overproduced…lots of backing tracks, strings. But the other morning after a second listen, I turned to Raine Maida’s solo The Hunter’s Lullaby, and realized that album has all those things, too. Curve, aside from a couple highlights like “Heavyweight” and “If This is It” just feels sluggish (maybe the album’s boxing theme fits, just not in the way the band thinks it does).  Albums do need to have some sort of unifying sound, which this album does…but they also need to have some variety, and after a few tracks, the songs on Curve just sound indistinguishable.

Maybe it will improve on me with time. Right now, it feels like this is the band “being artists” as opposed to just making some rock music. No thanks. We’ve already got Spiritual Machines and aside from 1 or 2 tracks, that’s unlistenable.