It’s obvious, with this album, that the Hip were not standing idle between releases. Here we have yet another collection of densely-packed, absolutely perfect tunes. There can be no question anymore that this is a consistent, completely important group.
Poets stands up in the catalogue with ease. That driving beat, that riff, the story it tells… hell yeah. Follow that with the pure rock of Something On and Save The Planet (both great road songs), and the Hip have announced the arrival of yet another classic platter. And Bobcaygeon, well… it’s just so good, I needn’t even go on about it. So many bands would kill for a song this good.
Thompson Girl and Membership should have been singles, Fireworks is songwriting at its best, and Vapour Trails slinks along with a great guitar line, building energy as it goes. The Rules slows things down, turns things introspective and quiet. For some reason I can hear Blue Rodeo covering this one. Maybe it’s just me? On to Chagrin Falls with its quirky riff and beat, Escape Is At Hand For The Travellin’ Man, possibly a true tour story set to music (but an impeccable tune, whether it’s true or not), and the album closer, Emperor Penguin, which brings things to a boil and crashes the whole shebang to a close with panache. The whole thing: so good!
By now, if you’ve been following along with this series, you’ll have sussed out that I’m just a bit of a fan of this band. Fair enough. But it’s been occurring to me as I go back (yet again) through each album and play these tracks that it’s not just a matter of liking the Hip’s music. At some point things blur together, and their reportage on the Canadian experience, offered to us wrapped in such bulletproof music, makes them our brothers, all of us in on the constantly unfolding story together.
Wouldn’t have it any other way.