It’s been fifteen years since Our Lady Peace held the post as one of Canada’s top rock and alternative bands and since then, while the hype for new albums from them has dwindled, their sound continues to soar. After departing the sounds that make them the solid band they were for 2002’s Gravity (which was also their biggest international record), Burn Burn from 2009 was a return to their roots. Curve expands on that return-to-sound, perhaps by the realization and acceptance of where they stand after twenty years as a band. They’re not trying to recreate any specific prior sound nor are they trying to appeal to newer audiences. Now they’re making the music they want to for themselves rather than by trying to appeal to a greater power, either through political statements or appealing to radio formats.
Curve is to Burn Burn as Happiness Is Not A Fish That You Can Catch was to Clumsy. Both records are lighter in density than their predecessors and admit some bounciness to them amongst an otherwise alternative-rock sounding record. Happiness has the groovy Annie while Curve opens with Allowance, mixing pop and rock in the same way that Jimmy Eat World does.
Strong anthemic choruses are also very present on the record, with the first single Heavyweight taking the brunt of that. The song follows a similar structure to that of their 90s anthem Naveed, complete with a pensive instrumental break during the bridge before coming back full force. What the entire record has are songs that hold true to the form that OLP songs have always had: alternative rock qualities sometimes undermined with easy-to-digest drum beats but never sacrificing their overall sound for grander absorption.
The final track on the album, Mettle, contains snippets of an interview with Canadian boxer George Chuvalo. An old photo of him is the cover of the album as well. While this song would normally stick out on an album like this, it doesn’t with an OLP record. It’s Raine Maida’s style to end on a reflective note and to pass the spotlight from the band to someone else before ending the show.
Curve maintains the level of output that OLP have found themselves in in recent years. Not outdoing the greatness of their earlier records but also not sinking to the Gravity and Healthy In Paranoid Times days either. The songs on here are made to be performed, rather than be mere album filler. Most of the tracks can be easily imagined into a standard OLP setlist and neither would stand out as being a departure to their sound. Curve is Our Lady Peace plateaued, better than would be expected considering their time together as a band but still, not likely to reach godlike status again.
2. Fire In The Henhouse
4. Window Seat
5. As Fast As You Can
6. If This Is It
7. Will Someday Change
8. Find Our Way