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Healthy In Paranoid Times

Raine Maida - vocalist Duncan Coutts - bass
Jeremy Taggart - drums
Steve Mazur - guitar

Several years in the making, the creation of Healthy In Paranoid Times—Our Lady Peace’s sixth studio album--was at once invigorating and at other moments nearly tore the band apart. The 13 songs OLP eventually assembled for the album are some of their strongest, most infectious and most poignant to date.

"When you're a brand new band, there's a tingly sort of feeling you get when you play a song that you just wrote," explains frontman Raine Maida. "With this album, we kept working until we got that feeling from every song."

Unlike their methodology on previous albums, the process consisted of multiple lengthy writing sessions and time off in between to reflect on the new material. The band pieced together and recorded a full 45 songs before they had the right tracks for the final cut. The paring down process was incredibly frustrating, testing the band's faith, confidence and resolve. There were many heated debates and nearly everyone threatened to quit.

"I remember Raine once stormed out and walked up a hill and I thought that was it for him," says bassist Duncan Coutts. "We were having an impromptu discussion about our future on the side of a canyon in Malibu overlooking a cliff. It was kind of metaphoric. Is the band going to fall over the cliff? Is the band going to keep going?" "I fired [producer] Bob Rock at one point and I think he quit at another," Maida says. "It was a very emotional process because we were fighting to not compromise our artistic vision and bring as much artistry as possible back into our music."

Ultimately, the group’s patience pays off. "Walking in Circles" evolves from a simple, stabbing beat and an encircling pattern of guitar lines to an urgent and explosive climax. Then there’s "Boy," which combines trickling guitars and buoyant bass with earthy vocals, and peaks with the kind of a mighty galvanic riff that unites nations. And the opening track "Will the Future Blame Us”—with lyrics inspired by the state of the world and its wars--starts with a driving, ringing rhythm that drops down for the verse before blossoming into an exultant chorus.

For Maida, the intensity of making Healthy in Paranoid Times was equaled by his activities during downtime from recording. As an active member of the charity War Child, Maida has traveled to Iraq, Darfur and Sudan over the past three years to help film documentaries about the poverty, suffering and pride of these Third World regions. "Those trips have defined my life even more so than my music," he said. "And you can't help but let that stuff seep into the lyrics and even the sensibilities you're trying to get out of the songwriting and the emotion we're trying to get out of the music."

The first single, "Where Are You," addresses the search for spirituality in a sea of corruption. "After spending some time in the Middle East and Africa, I came back and saw just how powerful the religious right wing of North America is," Maida says. "I thought it was a culture shock going over to these places, but the real culture shock was coming back home."

Now a decade into their recorded career, Our Lady Peace have reached a new creative and conceptual peak with Healthy in Paranoid Times: from challenging themselves with new writing/recording techniques and redefining the goals of the band, to addressing global issues of consumerism and capitalism head-on.

"This record is a perfect representation of our personalities and our perspectives on things at the current moment," says drummer Jeremy Taggart.

Adds Maida: “This is the real Our Lady Peace. It's the four of us making music together and an honest reflection of the seed of everything we planted 10 years ago."