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Coke Machine Glow

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Album Review

This sprawling collection of lush and often pretty numbers is the work of Gordon Downie — lead singer for the Tragically Hip. Fans of the Hip's classic rock will undoubtedly be left scratching their heads at this album that's more country than rock, and more jazzy than poppy. The bold statements of Gordon Downie's rock heritage have been abandoned in pursuit of the subtle and the subdued. The instrumentation on this record owes more to vaudeville than to Woodstock. Loose production across the board says that these are songs played by people in a room rather than the injection-molded nuggets of radio rock fans might expect. Based on and accompanied by a book of poetry, as a collection of songs, this album works remarkably well. It echoes Tom Waits or fellow Canadians the Rheostatics rather than just an unplugged Tragically Hip. Thankfully, what has the potential for great pretension (songs built on poetry, guest appearances from the likes of film director Atom Egoyan) manages to escape relatively unscathed. While Coke Machine Glow is a bit long and sprawling, it has moments of greatness where it all comes together: the album gem "Chancellor," or the marching "Vancouver Divorce," and the lighthearted polka stomp of "Yer Possessed."

Biography

Born: February 06, 1964 in Amherstview, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Singer/songwriter and poetic improviser Gordon Downie is one of Canada's most treasured artists. Beginning in 1983, he fronted Kingston, Ontario's beloved trad rock band the Tragically Hip, and Downie's lush and charming lyrical stories have garnered the Hip many fans across the globe, particularly in pockets of New York and Michigan. Downie, however, is the leading force -- not only as a vocalist, but also as an artist. The clarity in his songwriting exudes a passion, a poignant sensibility for...
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Coke Machine Glow, Gordon Downie
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Contemporaries