"For a band like Blue Rodeo to really grab my attention at this stage of their career, they'd have to put out something completely incredible. After all, for any Canadian kid growing up in the late-80's to mid-90's Jim Cuddy, Greg Keelor and company were a continual part of the Canadian music scene. Whether is was slow dancing to Try, losing yourself in Lost Together or yelling along to Hasn't Hit Me Yet, every rock or country fan of the north probably has at least one Blue Rodeo album kicking around their collection. So many, such as I once did, might feel that the band's glory days are over and they'd fade away into the twilight of their career as a band.Then this summer I wandered on down with my family to a show Blue Rodeo did in Toronto. My expectations were pretty low, play a couple of the old tunes, try to wow me with some new stuff and I'll head on home and forget about the band. But when Cuddy, Keelor and company launched into the new stuff off their then upcoming album, I was immediately impressed. These country-rock boys brought out a horn-section and orchestra and launched into their new stuff with such confidence that I immediately new I would be buying their next record. Palace Of Gold was that record and it is simply put the best thing the band has put out. Much like Five Days In July, Palace Of Gold's highpoints come when the band sticks to a slow, mellow groove that on this album is added to by a lush sounding orchestra and horn background that adds a depth to the band's sound that hasn't been heard before. Bulletproof, the first single, is that rare commodity in today's music scene, a slow orchestral ballad that doesn't come across as sappy. Stage Door manages the same trick with the song's confessional lyrics sounding real and honest. Palace Of Gold does have its uptempo points, mostly provided by the Cuddy tunes. Walk Like You Don't Mind is brimming with energy and with the band's horn section adding a soulful backing, is the first Blue Rodeo song that you can dance to. Clearer View and Cause For Sympathy also charge things up but are nicely balanced by the orchestral bits.Keelor tunes like Glad To Be Alive and Comet become all the more trippy with the added sounds. The tunes have a weird type of soundscape that Keelor's vocal performace keeps from getting to out there.With Palace Of Gold, Blue Rodeo has managed that rarest of tricks in the music scene. They've reinvented themselves without running away from themselvess. Palace Of Gold does sound like a Blue Rodeo record, the first three songs on the album would not seem out of place on most of the band's previous offerings. But the inclusion of new sounds and dynamics mixed with the more classic sounding tracks makes Palace Of Gold something truly incredible."
A Great Album From a Great Band
Michael Najjar | Los Angeles, CA | 12/01/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Blue Rodeo has done it again. This time the vision is more expansive than ever, aided by The Planet Soul Strings, The Bushwhack Horns, and Bob Egan's expressive guitar. The result is the fusion of great songwriting we've come to expect from Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor, the heartfelt playing of the band itself, and a more lavish production style.The songs are what ultimately matter here. The band covers a lot of territory from heartbreaking ballads like "Bulletproof","Love Never Lies", and "Tell Me Baby"; to the rockers "Walk Like You Don't Mind" and "Clearer View"; to soulful tunes like "Glad to Be Alive" and "Find a Way to Say Goodbye". It's the kind of album you want to hear whether you're stuck in traffic or driving on the open road. It's priceless."
They did it again!
V. Crossman | Moncton, New Brunswick | 01/24/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"They sound a little different with some instrumental additions, but they still manage to come out with tunes that wrench at your soul and uplift it at the same time...like they always do!"
It takes a few listens
V. Crossman | 01/15/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Like some of the other reviews here deriding this album, I was not impressed ... at first. Although listenable, the first seven songs seem done before with the obligatory politcal statement "Palace of Gold" being one of their weakest songs in recent recordings. But when I put this album on again for the first time in a few months, I as able to truly appreciate the quality in the remaining songs. Beginning with "Stage Door", the use of the horns and violins added a refreshing new mix to the already unique BR sound. In particular, "Stage Door" and "What a Surprise" integrates the new sound with strong melody to create two of the best recordings to come out of BR. It find it quite ironic that these two songs represent the best efforts on this album since I am generally a Jim Cuddy fan. But in recent albums, I am finding more often that Greg Keelor has created the unique melody and lyrics in his songs that I usually expect from Jim. If you have not heard the previous album, check out "bitter fruit", "andrea", "this road" and especially "rage". Overall, the CD is worth getting if you are a BR fan."
Wish I just saw the show
henry pank | Vancouver | 12/17/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Every time I see Blue Rodeo at the Commodore, I buy the latest CD. Loved their last show but boy was this album a dissappointment. I think all the die hard fans who wrote earlier reviews here just can't admit to themselves that their favourite band (mine too) came up lame this time. The idea was great. Add some horns and strings and try some kinky new arrangements. The problem is that whoever handled the recording for this album didn't know how to make the whole thing sound good. I really wanted to like this album but with every spin on the CD player, I could not get over how poorly recorded it was. Trying to ignore the poor sound, I was equally dissappointed by amateurish lyrics and melody. Even the so called big hit, Bulletproof, that sounded so good when I heard it live left me really wanting after hearing it on CD.Bottom line, there are lots of great Blue Rodeo albums out there (5 Days In July being the obvious high water mark). Save yourself the cash and stay away from this one."