CMJ - 8/7/00, p.36
"...Showing as ever a fairly profound influence from mid-period R.E.M.....fans of strong, memorable melodic rock should take note..."
Melody Maker - 7/22/00, p.513 stars out of 5
- "Iconoclastic Canadians....Worthy but dull but nice but worthy."
The Tragically Hip: Rob Baker, Gordon Downie, Johnny Fay, Paul Langlois, Gord Sinclair.
Additional personnel: Julie Doiron (vocals); Sarah Pinette (cello); Steve Berlin (keyboards, synthesizer, percussion); Chris Brown (keyboards); Mr. Hussein (tabla).
Producers: Steve Berlin, Mark Vreeken, The Tragically Hip.
Engineers: Mark Vreeken, Phillip Broussard.
Since 1983, The Tragically Hip have been popular in their native Canada, but something of a cult favorite in the USA. MUSIC @ WORK, where the band combine their rootsy-heartland rock (think Tom Petty, Black Crowes, Widespread Panic) with dryly quirky and humorous alternative rock (think Wall of Voodoo, They Might Be Giants, Cake) has little of the blues flavoring present on The Tragically Hip's earlier albums.
The overall sound here is sophisticated and atmospheric but doesn't forsake punch. Gordon Downie's hearty, distinctive, slightly wobbly voice conveys genuine soulfulness and irony, his lyrics full of wry disdain and poetic ruminations. The guitars have a burred, smoldering sound to them, as well as an eerie jangle. The tunes are catchy, but the sometimes jaunty tone of the music belies the sarcasm of the words: "everything is bleak/it's the middle of the night/you're all alone/and the dummies might be right." Steve Berlin of Los Lobos co-produced this album, and it sounds as if the experimentation of albums like Los Lobos' KIKO may have been an influence on the proceedings. MUSIC @ WORK is a moody and thoughtful listen--proof that a rock band can age gracefully and with style.