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Barenaked Ladies

Detour De Force

Review by Gary Hill

I've been a fan of Barenaked Ladies for a long time. Their blend of pop rock with an alternative weirdness and a sense of humor is compelling. This album doesn't have any big surprises, but instead delivers are solid set of BNL class and style.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 5. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
Flip
The opening blast feels like some over-produced pop thing. The cut works out from there to an alternative rocking jam, but that "Flip" blast returns on the chorus. This tune is bouncy, quirky and a lot of fun.
Good Life
There is almost a soulful groove to this cut. It's not as direct in terms of energy as the opener was, but the alternative pop vibes on this are at least as strong as those on the opener.
New Disaster
As good as the two previous cuts were, this exceeds them. It's a fun romp that is trademark Barenaked Ladies.
Big Back Yard
Coming with just vocals and finger-snapping, more vocals and clapping join after the first round. Then it shifts to more of a mainstream alternative rock groove from there. There is a dreamy, summer sense of fun to this number.
Live Well
There are some minor country edges to this tune. This has a lot of folk music at its core. The song is a bit more subdued, but it's also very effective.
Flat Earth
I dig the retro organ on this tune a lot. The whole cut has a classy, bouncy vibe. It's a lot of fun. This has some soaring melodic parts later along the road. I'd consider this one of the highlights of the disc. The lyrics are particularly clever, too.
Here Together
There is a good time, fun groove to this number. It has plenty of alternative pop angles and some great hooks. It's another that lands on the stronger end of the spectrum here.
Roll Out
A jazzy groove brings this tune into being. This song is so fun, and so trademark BNL. It's another standout. It has great hooks, a strong energy and so much style.
Bylaw
Bouncy, a little jazzy and a lot of fun, this is another winner on a disc full of great music.
God Forbid
Atmospheric keyboard start this song. A slow moving rock sound is heard as the guitar joins. This is a rather balladic number.
Paul Chambers
There is a soulful groove and a real classic 1970s pop rock vibe to this thing. It's silky smooth and so accessible. I would consider this to be another highlight of the set.
The National Park
A mellower piece, there is a bit of a jazz-vibe here. This has an intriguing style and energy built into it. I really dig the piano work on this a lot.
Man Made Lake
While this is more of a folk rock styled song, it definitely is trademark BNL, too. There is a cool drift off into spacey ambience at the end.
Internal Dynamo
This comes in trippy and atmospheric. Some jazzy space concepts are heard as it rises upward ever so gradually. There is a real Pink Floyd sort of feeling to it. Eventually a percussive texture joins, then after a while a world music concept takes over. That holds it with some alternative pop added to the mix for the first vocal section. Then the cut explodes out into hard rocking zones. We get some rapping and a real hard rocking vocal delivery from there. The comes back to the earlier alternative pop section from there, but with more an intensity brought to it. After that works through, the cut dissolves to textural concepts to end.
 
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