""Road Apples" is a great leap forward from "Up To Here" for the Hip. The biggest difference is not the songwriting, which has is better this time out, but the production. The album has a cleaner sound, but is looser and more groove oriented than the riff heavy "Up To Here". The production is impressive, but wouldn't mean much without the tremendous batch of songs Gordon Downie and the boys have cooked up. Nearly every song is a Hip classic. "Little Bones" is the perfect song to kick off a rock album, nearly begging to be played at full volume. The instrumental build-up eventually gives in to some of Gord's finest lyrics. "It gets so sticky down here, better butter your cue finger up; it's the start of another new year, better call the newspaper up". Small town boredom looking for a little fun, but the only fun is during happy hour. "Nothing's dead down here, it's just a little tired" is Gord's version of optimism. The energy doesn't let up until half way through, as each of the first five songs are loud, furious rock and roll. It is clear in these songs who Downie's biggest influence was when writing his lyrics, Shakespeare. Several songs have direct references to Shakespearian characters, or to the man himself. This may sound like a strange reference point for noisy rock music, but it gives the songs an certain eloquence. "Cordelia" uses the tragedy of "King Lear" as a metaphor to his own failures through a series of visceral scenes. "The Luxury" has what I believe to be Downie's funniest and most sarcastic lyric in "She says 'why are you partial to that Playboy con, when you can see me naked anytime you want?'" Well honey, let me tell ya why.... "Three Pistols" and "On the Verge" are two more tragically overlooked (in America) classics. The three ballads on this album give it the stylistic diversity it needs. "Long Time Running" is plaintive and desperate. "Fiddler's Green" is a beautiful song about a son who's left his loving mother behind, and "Last of the Unplucked Gems" is an unfinished gem to close the album, working it's hazy groove and giving us one of Downie's most hauntingly beautiful melodies. When he sings "I'm kinda dumb, and so are you" he may only be half right. Do yourself a favor rock fans and buy this album. It is a masterpiece of hard rock, and the first great album from the most criminally overlooked band (in America) of the past 10-15 years."
Road Apples Rulz
Mike Hoffman | Des Moines Iowa | 03/12/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Once again I buy a THip CD and I'm not disappointed. This album rocks - it's sort of an REM based sound but Gordie (lead singer) has a very distinctive sound. Come on America embrace one of Canada's finest rock bands! If you like this album try out Fully Completely - it's even better."
A holy grail
Dennis P. OBrien | Colorodo Springs, CO | 08/04/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"- Perhaps one of the best and most intelligent albums in the last decade. Its musical influences are probably Kerouac, Ginsberg put to musical narrative. So stop the musical comparisons - Strangely it takes a Canadian Band to show us what American music can truly be."
One of rock's great masterpeices
Rick Jones | Toronto, Canada | 07/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Let's be up front; if you like rock and "Road Apples" isn't in your collection, your collection is woefully incomplete.This is the Hip's second studio album, following a self-titled EP and "Up to Here," and it's probably one of the ten best rock albums ever produced, anywhere. Despite the frequent comparisons to REM (mostly due to lead singer Gord Downie's weird antics on stage) the Hip, musically, don't really resemble REM; ther sound is far harder and more rigidly arranged. That being said, the Hip is, first and foremost, a band. Few rock bands play as well as a unit; their songs are masterfully crafted with not a note out of place, every sound made being part of a whole. Rob Baker and Paul Langlois weave their guitars together like silk; on songs like "Cordelia" and "Bring it all Back" it becomes hard to tell who's playing what. Gord Sinclair weaves his bass line in with expert precision, and Johnny Fay's drumming supports without being intrusive. While listening to "Road Apples," you never really notice any one of the instruments - you hear them all, all contributing to tell each little story along the way.Gord Downie's lyrics have been exhaustively discussed elsewhere, so I won't discuss them (they're amazing - there, I said it) but "Road Apples" is definitely his finest VOCAL work. Downie sings with incredible power on "Road Apples," power he lost a few albums later, and sings with a range he doesn't display on "Up to Here." His singing is unique, wonderful, and at the time was without peer.There isn't a bad song on the album, and there aren't many songs here that aren't flat-out genius. If you like rock and roll, RUN and buy this album. Don't wait another day; you'll be glad you got this one."
Classic "must have" for Rock and Alternative fans
Dan Unger | Mobile, Alabama | 06/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I own about 500 various rock and alternative CD's. If I lost them all, this would be the first one I'd run out and buy. It has completely blown away any and all of my friends that have heard it. If you don't fall in love with this CD you are not a fan of Rock and Roll. I'm amazed at all the bandwagon Hip fans that say "Day for Night" or "Fully Completely" are their best. They obviously haven't heard this one, or their first. Sound quality is excellent, guitar work is mesmerizing, vocals are haunting. It kinda sounds like a mix of Alternative/Hard Rock/Funky White Boy Hard Rock straight from the heart and soul. There isn't a bad song on it. If you don't agree this is a classic must have rock CD, check your pulse 'cause buddy, you're dead!"