Detour de Force

Barenaked Ladies

Detour de Force

Detour de Force arrives on the 30th anniversary of The Yellow Tape, the wildly successful DIY cassette that transformed Barenaked Ladies into Canada’s most famous indie-folk troupe. Thirteen albums, a few major lineup changes, and one plum Big Bang Theory placement later, the Ladies barely resemble their younger selves, with the off-the-cuff busker charm giving way to seasoned, arena-tested professionalism. It would be hard to imagine the lovable goofballs of old penning Detour de Force’s tense showstopper “New Disaster” (a pointed response to climate change and disinformation overload) or the deeply introspective “Man Made Lake” (a song that frontman Ed Robertson co-wrote with singer-songwriter Donovan Woods, who also recorded it for his own 2020 album Without People). The band’s sense of humor is also wielded in a more subtle fashion, like on “Bylaw,” keyboardist Kevin Hearn’s breezy, Bacharach-esque ode to annoying municipal regulations. But what hasn’t changed is BNL’s flair for instant spirit-lifting sing-alongs (like the boisterous opener, “Flip”), or their deft touch at incorporating rap flows into their folk-funk purview. As Robertson rhymes on the self-referential “Good Life”: “Coulda packed it up, but then we had a Big Bang/Now after three decades, it’s still a good hang.”

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