These albums came out back in 2001. Here’s what I said about them then (with some minor editing):
Apparently, some sort of Canadian Rock Statute of Limitations has expired. Both The Northern Pikes and The Grapes of Wrath returned to the recording studio after nearly a decade in hibernation.
In The Pikes’ case, it sounds like they might still be a little groggy. Once a dynamic little new wave outfit — remember She Ain’t Pretty? — this Saskatchewan foursome led by Jay Semko and Bryan Potvin take a mellow approach on their comeback disc Truest Inspiration, delivering 11 midtempo slices of Squeeze-style pop whose pristine harmonies and jangly melodies please the ear but rarely break a sweat. While seamlessly crafted cuts like the Tragically Hippy Echo Off the Beach and Christ prove the boys haven’t lost their touch, they might want to reconnect with their inner rockers before they record again. To that end, they could learn a thing of two from the reunited Grapes of Wrath. Actually, it’s just Tom Hooper and Kevin Kane — but Field Trip finds them up to their old tricks, crafting endearingly unaffected garage-pop straight from the Big Star/Posies/Crowded House fakebook. Opener Black Eye comes out swinging and rocks harder than they ever did before, while Sell the Goat weaves an Angie-like acoustic spell and Begin Communication shakes off the dust with a roots-rocky groove. An extra EP of reworked classics (Misunderstanding, You May Be Right, All The Things I Wasn’t) and covers (Theme from Head, 99 Miles From L.A.) ensures that this is a Trip worth taking.