54-40 open for Great Big Sea Saturday (June 21) at the Molson Amphitheatre. Rating: NNN
Goodbye Flatland sees 54-40 maturing into a band less consumed with chart success (Love You All) than with doing things on their own terms. The usual jangly pop tunes are present, but they surprise with a Radiohead/Flaming Lips loops-and-overdubs sound, mixing in an Iggy Pop howl on Animal In Pain to come up with a new sound for a veteran band. Throw in a few sentimental weepers, shrink-wrap it and you've got yourself a very listenable album. Too bad 54-40 came on to the scene at that most unfortunate time, when any Canadian band wasn't considered cool/good simply by virtue of being Canadian. However stupid it sounds today, with Canadian bands dominating the globe, in 1986 dems was de facts, and the fact that most people only know I Go Blind as a Hootie song should have been reason enough for Neil Osborne to pick a new profession. That he hasn't after 10 albums should signify that he has the capacity (and stubbornness) to write not only great pop tunes, but really good albums as well.