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CD Reviews:  Our Lady Peace: Gravity

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"Last time I talked to you, you were lonely and out of place," Raine Maida reminds in the opening moments of "Somewhere Out There," the flashy new radio cut from Our Lady Peace's new Gravity record. For those who care to recall, Toronto's newest hit makers last spoke to us a year ago on their space-aged experiment Spiritual Machines, a virtual flop from the standpoint of sales and promoting a somewhat young career. In fairness, Our Lady Peace have been creating remarkably invisible post-grunge rock for nearly a decade, while pounding out now five major-label albums in just over seven years. 

Now with the commercial Midas touch of producer Bob Rock, Gravity delivers one of the cleanest batches of alternative guitar rock melodies this calendar year has seen. "Innocent" is a jumped up, modern-day "Shooting Star" (ala Bad Company) that visits a young Johnny alone in his basement "with Lennon and Cobain, a guitar and a stereo." It's obvious that the classic rock influences have long played a vital part in OLP's work, but Maida and company never assume so much to suffocate their heroes; instead they build upon them. The polished progression of a lone guitar escorts Maida's unmistakable voice straight into the crashing chorus on "Do You Like It." It's the orchestral background in the fab "Somewhere Out There" that gives these Canadians a bona fide shot at real radio pay dirt this summer. But it doesn't stop there. "Made of Steel" and "A Story About a Girl" are both anthem rockers that should serve well in whichever concert halls they tour. In true classic rock fashion, OLP even fill the mold of the perfect ballad with "Bring Back the Sun," a lazy drifter that won't really hook you until the beautiful chorus.

Relatively unknown, yet far from untested, Our Lady Peace appear poised to stake an honest claim on what is currently a lonely ground, void of true rock and roll conviction while cluttered with Staind copycats. For at least the time being, Gravity now joins Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot in giving me a glimmer of hope that 2002 will not be completely lost in corporate rock's back pocket.

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