Musician - 5/91
"..it's easy to liken this Canadian quintet to Midnight Oil...many of the same strengths apply, from the songs' sly politics to the gritty, twin-guitar attack that drives them."
The Tragically Hip have always taken a certain modest pride in their Canadian roots. The group wanted to title their third album "Saskadelphia," but the record label found it "too Canadian." The group then suggested Road Apples, local slang for frozen horse-droppings, and the record label, unaware of its meaning, liked it. Don't let the title fool you; Road Apples is some of the best of the Hip's best work. Recorded in New Orleans under the watchful eyes of producers Don Smith and Bruce Barris, Road Apples is a more polished effort than the group's previous two albums. Smith and Barris have created a cleaner, more efficient sound that complements lead singer Gord Downie's manic energy. Equally impressive is the work of guitarist Bobby Baker. The Southern twang on "Twist My Arm" as well as the raw power of "Little Bones" and "Long Time Running" illustrate Baker's skill and dexterity. The ballad "Fiddler's Green" is a pleasant departure and is as effective as any of the other tracks on the album. All in all, the straight-ahead roots rock of Road Apples is a perfect example of why the Tragically Hip are legends north of the 49th parallel. American audiences have yet to catch on, but they would be doing themselves a favor by not stepping aside Road Apples. ~ Jon Azpiri