In the last decade or so though, it could be argued that The Hip have been coasting on reputation. Over that same time Downie has delved into other project including solo albums and poetry. On June 8th, he releases his third solo record, The Grand Bounce.
Once again this album sees Downie backed by the ever capable Country Of Miracles. What is new this time around though is the assistance of Chris Walla of Death Cab For Cutie fame.
Through the vast majority of the album it's difficult to see what, if anything Walla's presence brought to the table. The songs sound like typical Downie. It's poetry filled with Canadian imagery and character studies set to run-of-the-mill folk and roots rock. The melodies are pleasant, but unexceptional. The energy level is barely measurable. As a whole it feels like we've been hearing these same songs from Downie since the mid-90s.
The hard driving "The Drowning Machine" and the Hip-style rocker "Night Is For Getting" are among a handful of tracks jerk you out of the rut. The album's only real innovation comes in the form of "Moonslow Yer Lashes", a track that sees Downie add an almost New Wave element to his folk rock repertoire. Aesthetically the results aren't perfect, but they are fascinating from an artistic perspective.
If you view music as a platform on which to deliver poetry (and you don't like it very intense), then you'll enjoy The Grand Bounce. In the end though, the album does precious little to add or detract from Gord Downie's musical legacy.
Best tracks: "Moonslow Yer Lashes", "Moon Over Glenora"
Track listing for The Grand Bounce:
- The Grand Bounce
- Moon Over Glenora
- As A Mover
- The Dance And Its Disappearance
- The Hard Canadian
- The Drowning Machine
- Yellow Days
- Night Is For Getting
- Moonslow Yer Lashes
Gord Downie's website