For a quarter of a century the Tragically Hip have been defining and redefining Canadian rock, and their 13th studio album is a satisfying, if predictable, continuation of this trend.  The opening song and first single, “At Transformation,” is an earnest rock song that also draws from both blues and rock-anthem traditions. The album’s overall sound is designed for the amphitheatre: major power chords, rhythmic drums and bass, Rob Baker’s blues-laden guitar riffs, and Gord Downie’s scorching, poetic lyrics. In the past, The Tragically Hip have managed to hit a sweet spot between country rockers and a uniquely Canadian sound, and Now For Plan A will stand as yet another jewel in their crown. To hear the Tragically Hip in all their glory, be sure to listen to “We Want it to Be,” “Streets Ahead,” and “The Modern Spirit.”

—John Cockshutt

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