Our Lady Peace – Spiritual Machines

Sometimesyou just have to look beyond the U.S. borders for good music, which is what Irealized after picking up “Spiritual Machines,” Canadian rockers OurLady Peace’s fourth album. It goes to show that a band can go far and still benew and interesting, without having to recycle songs from previous albums.Slapping the label of “concept record” on this effort need not applysince almost all was written before guitarist Mike Turner and vocalist/lyricistRaine Maida got their hands on the book The Age of Spiritual Machines by RayKurzweil, which shows the struggle be-tween humans and machines.

Whilesome of the songs play off this theme, the album is mostly about human emotion.And although records like this (Radiohead’s “OK Computer”) have anegative outlook on the idea, OLP says a big “screw you” to machinesand lets humans know we’ll prevail. Songs like the uplifting single”Life” tell you: “Life is waiting for you/It’s all messed up butwe’re alive/Life is waiting for you/It’s all messed up but we’ll survive,”while the catchy hooks of “Middle of Yesterday” and “Made toHeal” draw you in musically. “All My Friends” has the chillingvocals of Maida reaching substantially high notes set to the eerie tunes.

Even the spoken word tracks by Kurzweil himself give this album thatextra punch and intelligence that lifts it above a lot of the other stuff outthere today. Bassist Duncan Coutts sets some great tones to the music”Spiritual Machines.” I highly recommend this album, and even though itwas released a year ago, I still think it’s one of the best.

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