Home Read Classic Album Review: Gordon Downie | Battle Of The Nudes

Classic Album Review: Gordon Downie | Battle Of The Nudes

The Tragically Hip vocalist heads back to the mainstream on his sophomore solo set.

This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


On his 2001 solo debut, Tragically Hip vocalist Gordon Downie gamely wandered off in new artistic directions, indulging his experimental side with soundscapey songs and addressing his literary aspirations with poetry and spoken-word passages. On his followup Battle Of The Nudes, he retraces his steps, heading back toward the more commercial confines of the musical mainstream.

The dozen cuts on this 37-minute collection come in three equally accessible varieties: Atmospheric bedhead ballads a la Ron Sexsmith; quirky garage-pop nuggets vaguely reminiscent of Guided By Voices; and bashing, guitar-squeal fuzz-rockers that fall somewhere between old Tragically Hip and Crazy Horse. Each category, happily, proves equally satisfying, giving the album some consistency to complement its variety — and making the the few artsy, noise- and sample-based entries more easily digestible. More importantly, though, the loose, easygoing immediacy of these jammy tracks evinces a freshness and vitality that have been waning and wanting in the last few Hip outings. With Battle Of The Nudes, Downie has hit the mark fair and square.