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— While often hailed as Canadas most talented musi: Rush, The Tragically Hip, from Kingston, Ontario, d such comparisons and fiound an audience south of :ir latest release follows last years Live Between Us and jjM M UB fci "11 1996 s groundbteakSSQ l ing Trouble at the M il Henhouse. The latter

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bizarre, lyrics of front man Gordon Downie. Case in point: “Porn speaks to its splintered legions to the pink amid the withered corn­ stalks in them wintered regions.” Amid the obscure lyrics of “Poets” — and typical of T-Hip songs — comes a quick line clipped from Vermont headlines: “Lawns cut by bare-breasted women.” Yeah, it happened here. “Something On” continues with the same energy, and takes its name from the reintroduction of electricity to Central and Eastern Canada following this January’s ice storm. “Outside there is hectic action, the ice is covering the trees.” While lyrically the more accessible, the song is grittier instrumentally. The middle of th< disc take a drastic turn for the mellow, beginning with the lengthy “Bobcaygeon.” This track features producer and Los Lobos member Steve Berlin on keyboards. Wilco’s Bob Egan also lends a hand on pedal steel on this track and later on “The Rules.” Berlin and Egan began their collaboration with The Tragically Hip during last years Anoth^Rpadside Attraction Tour. The next notable track is “Fireworks,” a straightforward pop-rocker The Hip has performed live under the title “Bobby Orr,” The lyrically playful song describes a relationship between a Canadian boy and a girl from the U.S.: “You said you never gave a fuck about hockey/I never saw someone say that before.” “Escape is at Hand for the Traveilin' Man” may well be the best song here. The atmospheric guitar by Rob Baker sounds foreground. Lyrically, though, Downie s at his best in “Escape,” describes musicians connecting on the road together, then going their separate ways. Phantom /W er lacks the high-energy rock feel of past Hip discs, but it represents a time in their career and dif­ ferent interpretations of the studio space. The Tragically Hip are still at their best onstage. Catch them this Saturday at the Sugarbush K evin M u rrih y

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Seven Days, August 26, 1998  

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