The Tragically Hip
Album: We Are The Same
Label: Universal
Rating: ****

This is not an album that’s going to knock the listener through the walls with ragged guitar and rock ’n’ roll angst. As a matter of fact, it will probably challenge old Hip fans still looking for another New Orleans Is Sinking. No sprawling rock anthems here. Instead we get the country calm of Morning Moon, the gentle melody of Honey Please and the grandiose Depression Suite. The three-part album centrepiece clocks in at almost 10 minutes and is held together by stately strings and Beatlesque production techniques that Bob Rock borrowed from Jeff Lynn. But always there’s that nasty Hip element rolling beneath the surface, occasionally rearing its head on songs like Love Is a First and Frozen In My Tracks. It’s a fine balance of light and dark, soft and hard, old and new. Downie and company push the sound ahead, but, as always, remain Hip.

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