30
May
16

THE HIP-MAN MACHINE POEM-“THE TRUTH AND THE FAITH IN THE POWER OF SONG” BY JOHN EMMS

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Due out June 17th the Tragically Hip’s new album Man Machine Poem is a testament that the band’s connection and emotional resonance with fans has evolved together.

Off the top I can tell you that after five complete listens it becomes clear there are at least 4 or 5  songs on Man Machine Poem that will kill at radio, yet as a whole the album forges new sonic textures.

How is this possible?

The Hip simply remain true to what they do best.

And that is write memorable songs about life’s everyday experiences.

Like Blue Rodeo, Stompin Tom Connors, Tom Cochrane and even the game of hockey The Hip have faith that what they do matters to Canadians.

Opening the cd with the haunting song Man, the band goes dark pinned by a powerful vocal by singer Gord Downie.

It’s a gutsy type of psychedelia that gives way to a soon to be Hip classic on the next song In a World Possessed By The Human Mind.

Pulsating to the backbeat of Johnny Fay it shivers, and shakes your speakers with a 90’s Day for Night rumble.

What Blue is easily one of the band’s most vulnerable, loving, yet absorbed songs in the context of love.

If you could say this new song defines Gord Downie in the present so be it.

Yet again a laid back groove builds intense on the track Great Soul where Rob Baker and Paul Langlois’ guitars surround and weave hypnotic as Downie lays it bare.

Elsewhere the acoustic Tired As Fuck has a mid 90’s Trouble at the Henhouse feel.

The song suits perfectly to me at least the 2016 approach to the highs and lows and often mundane of what keeps us up at night.

Both Hot Mic and Here in the Dark could be live faves.

In fact, the whole band drives on both songs.

The tracks crackle with the inventive bass work of Gord Sinclair, and again the guitar weld of Langlois and Baker.

Drummer Johnny Fay pushes Downie to his front man best.

The pretty In Sarnia and Ocean Next are atmospheric and revealing, the latter in an almost Led Zeppelin acoustic mold.

Producers Kevin Drew and Dave Hamelin have somehow transformed New Hip vibes while never leaving the past too far in the rear view mirror.

Man Machine Poem proves beyond a doubt that as players and friends The Hip as a unit are one of the most exciting acts on any stage on any given night.

Even with such a storied catologue taking chances as they do on this album has never sounded so righteous.

NOTE. Album is due out June 17th

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, Post Media contributor and singer songwriter with Canuck Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/paycheque-blues/id365389443

JOHN is on Twitter

https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

 

 

 

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