Barenaked Ladies – Detour de Force

Multi-platinum band Barenaked Ladies released their 16th studio album Detour de Force on Friday, July 16, 2021. Produced by JUNO and Grammy award winner Eric Ratz and Mark Howard, the eagerly awaited album features 14 newly minted tracks including singles “Flip” and “New Disaster”.

Current Singles:
Flip
New Disaster

Detour de Force Tracklist:
01. Flip
02. Good Life
03. New Disaster
04. Big Back Yard
05. Live Well
06. Flat Earth
07. Here Together
08. Roll Out
09. Bylaw
10. God Forbid
11. Paul Chambers
12. The National Park
13. Man Made Lake
14. Internal Dynamo
15. Way Of The Heart (Vinyl-only exclusive bonus track)

Detour de Force is BNL at its most ambitious, accomplished, intricate, intentional — and, in some ways, circumstantial. Its gestation was long and exacerbated (as so many things have been) by the global pandemic. The good news is that it’s BNL’s most broad-reaching and diverse work to date — fusing the distinct writing voices of Robertson, Hearn and Creeggan into a cohesive work from the stand-out tracks “Flip”, “New Disaster”, and “Good Life”, to the uptempo fun of “Flat Earth”, the playful and country-flavoured “Roll Out” to the gentle melodics of “Live Well”, “The National Park”, “God Forbid” and “Man Made Lake” to the sonic roller coaster of the album-closing “Internal Dynamo”.

The depth goes beyond sonics throughout the album. Though there’s certainly the verbal playfulness and whimsy that’s part of BNL’s stock in trade, many of the songs have a reflective and philosophical, sometimes topical, underpinning that’s also long been part of the BNL makeup.  

“We’ve always liked that our band is very diverse in what we do,” says Robertson, “and on this record I really enjoyed the exploration. This record is a journey. Taking off one song would tip it in a way we didn’t feel was representative of the record we made. We wanted everything that’s here to be part of the record.”

Adds Tyler Stewart, “This is some of our strongest material in 30 years, easily. I think it stands up there with our best albums. It hangs with ‘Gordon,’ or it hangs with ‘Maroon.’

BNL wasn’t dormant as the world shut down — evidence the group’s spirited “Selfie Cam Jam” series and Robertson’s weekly Friday livestreams online, both for charity, as well as a pair of virtual concerts. But the pause brought a fresh perspective to where the band wanted Detour de Force to go.

“The pandemic really affected the album in an interesting way,” recalls Jim Creeggan, who penned a pair of the Detour de Force songs. “I was getting calls from friends to do remote-based stuff, people asking each other to add something to those projects. So we started reaching out and bringing other things into what we were doing.”

“We took several detours de force,” acknowledges Kevin Hearn, “but I think what you get is a beautiful hybrid of a live off-the-floor band, all the way to full-on production numbers.’ It’s kind of reminiscent of ‘Stunt’.”

“There was a lot that was amazing about recording at the cottage,” recalls Robertson, who wrote songs on his own and with friends Kevin Griffin, Craig Wiseman, Donovan Woods and Danny Michel. “The focus was great. The vibe was great. The hang was great. It was super positive for the band dynamic.”  Virtual guests were also invited, including original BNL keyboardist Andy Creeggan (Jim’s brother), all-star singer and bassist Fernando Saunders and MOOG bass pedals borrowed from Rush’s Geddy Lee even make an appearance.

Over the course of 33 years, the beloved quartet has sold 15 million records worldwide and built up an arsenal of hits such as “If I Had $1,000,000,” “One Week,” “Pinch Me” and “The Big Bang Theory Theme.” Widely acknowledged as one of the best live acts on the planet, BNL has hosted a cruise, had its own ice cream flavor, amassed eight JUNO Awards, and was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2018. As Ed Robertson, Jim Creeggan, Tyler Stewart and Kevin Hearn put it on ‘Detour de Force,’ “Wasn’t easy but it turned out alright/Wouldn’t trade it for another…You don’t wanna miss this mutha.”

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