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Barenaked Ladies are on a ‘Streak’



Published: Mon, October 14, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

By John Benson

entertainment@vindy.com

One look at the cover of the Barenaked Ladies’ new album “Grinning Streak” and it’s apparent the once fresh-faced-looking “Old Apartment” group has hit middle age.

“That’s because we are older,” laughed keyboardist, guitarist, vocalist Kevin Hearn, calling from Toronto.

The other noticeable aspect of the cover is the fact all of the band members — Hearn, Ed Robertson (guitar, vocals), Jim Creeggan (bass, vocals) and Tyler Stewart (drums, vocals) — are dressed alike, almost in a boy-band fashion.

Today, the Gen X man group known for radio hits “Pinch Me,” “Brian Wilson,” “If I Had $1,000,000” and the chart- topping “One Week,” is back with its 11th studio album.

In listening to the new CD, it’s obvious the sound of the Canadian group has evolved. Anthemic tracks have been replaced with mid-tempo tunes that still contain the Barenaked Ladies’ trademark quirky lyrics. Something else different is Hearn’s presence with electronic sounds and more.

Take for instance the album’s lead track “Limits,” which not only begins with synthesizer sounds but ends with Hearn adding an extended piano jam unlike anything ever heard from the group.

While stylistically pushing the envelope, the Barenaked Ladies have spent the last decade trying to restart the magic commercially speaking.

Not to suggest Bareknaked Ladies are going to be as irrelevant as many of its peers are from 15 years ago, but this past summer the quartet hit the road with Ben Folds Five and Guster as part of a package tour. And once a band starts touring under a nostalgic banner, the need for new albums seems futile.

Hearn acknowledges the danger of touring solely on nostalgic tours, but discounts the Barenaked Ladies are venturing down that road.

“If [package tours] was the only thing we did, then maybe there could be in some danger,” Hearn said. “We just think of it as something we do in the summer, not necessarily every summer for the rest of our lives. Also, that’s why we made a new record, and what’s why we keep putting new material into the mix.”

Fans can hear that new music — along with some of the hits — when the Barenaked Ladies return to the area for shows Wednesday at the Lakewood Civic Auditorium and Oct. 21 at the Carnegie Library Music Hall in Munhall (Pittsburgh).


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