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Design By Humans
Published On: Sat, Jun 22nd, 2013

Barenaked Ladies: Grinning Streak

ladiesBarenaked Ladies
Grinning Streak
(Vanguard Records)

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The band’s 11th album and second since the departure of founding member and co-lead singer/songwriter, Steven Page, finds the Barenaked Ladies becoming more comfortable with their new configuration. After 2010’s more melancholic and often floundering All In Good Time, the songs on Grinning Streak have the confidence of their classic era while moving in a more mature, introspective direction.

Ed Roberts takes over most of the songwriting and lead vocal duties with an impeccable pop sensibility. Songs like lead single “Boomerang,” and the anthemic “Odds Are” are some of the strongest songs of the band’s long career, and although not every song is as solid as these, the faults tend to be stylistic rather than compositional. Instead of sticking to their jangle-pop sound world, the band experiments with more synthesizers and new wave influences. Sometimes, as on the ping-ponging vocals of “Off His Head,” these experiments are successful, but on other tracks, it makes the songs feel more confused than necessary.

Grinning Streak has a pained, but ultimately optimistic view on life, taking its title alternately sincerely or sardonically. This sentiment is best encapsulated in the chorus of “Odds Are,” which states, “odds are that we will probably be alright,” which seems to be trying to convince its narrator as much as its audience.

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Barenaked Ladies: Grinning Streak