Tragically Hip: The Series – In Between Evolution (2004)

It seems a little odd to me to be writing one of these per day, turning each of the band’s (usually) two year effort of touring and a new record into just a moment of your time. Mine is not an effort to diminish their work, to be sure. On the contrary, it’s to celebrate it (as you’ll have gathered by now)! So. To business…

Right of the bat, this record blasts us with the fast, monster riffs of Heaven Is A Better Place Today, another epic opening track. I should make a CD of just their opening tracks, in chronological order. That’d still be a great mix. Summer’s Killing Us keeps the energy alive, a track that must sound simply awesome in concert, everyone bouncing in time… Follow that with Gus: The Polar Bear From Central Park, a fantastic, bluesy guitar line that satisfyingly chugs. This song has weight. I’m lovin’ it. And from there we head right into another song you must surely have memorized by now, from rawk radio, Vaccination Scar. Once again they’ve loaded the front end of an album with track after track of excellence. Better yet, it keeps right on going!

It Can’t Be Nashville Every Night is a fun, mid-tempo romp, another playground built for that inimitable guitar combination. Then we jump cities, for If New Orleans Is Beat, a thoughtful musing which is certainly more evocative now, after the tragedy there. You’re Everywhere moves forward indelibly, capturing the ear with its strong riff and steady beat. Pick the pace back up again for As Makeshift As We Are, the riff for which catches me thinking of Corner Gas every time, then I realize no, it’s not. Haha. Cool. And such a great song. Mean Streak brings things in closer to the chest at first, then lets go in a raunchy crash that is definitely worth multiple listens. There are a lot of tricky chords in this one!

Strap back in and let ‘er rip for The Heart Of The Melt, another classic Hip rawk track. Damn, these guys can whip such songs off with apparent ease, but I’m sure of how hard it is to do this, let alone with the level of consistency these guys enjoy. From there we find ourselves enjoying One Night In Copenhagen, a perfect companion to its predecessor on the album. They’ve found a great, fuzzy guitar sound for this record and its prominent all over the place, especially here. Are We Family is a track I absolutely love. That lead guitar line gets stuck in my head for days! You just need to hear it for yourself, then play it repeatedly. I know you will. And last (but certainly not least), it’s time to say Goodnight Josephine, a song that starts out like a sketch that grows into a fully realized piece of work as it progresses. I love it when they end an album on an upbeat level of energy, and this album is no exception. It bodes well for the next collection of treasures surely in our future.

If they’re ‘in-between evolution’ on this record, what comes next must surely be amazing (and it was), because to me it sounds like they’re already there… and have been for years.

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