SameDiff BNL

Who The Hell Are The Barenaked Ladies?

DotMusic, Febuary 18th 1999.

They've just crashed into the UK singles chart for the first time at No.5 with the super- infectious One Week, but who on Earth are these Barenaked Ladies?

Neither barenaked (at least in public), nor ladies, this Canadian five-piece have in fact been making their particular brand of acoustic folk/ pop for over ten years. The Toronto chaps finally released an independent EP in 1991 titled Be My Yoko Ono, which went on to become a gold-selling hit in their homeland. A deal with Sire/Reprise soon followed resulting in the album Gordon, a Canadian chart-topper for eight weeks. Clearly BNL had struck a formula that appealed to their fellow countryfolk, but it wasn't until the release of their third album Born On A Pirate Ship in 1996 that success began to kick in south of the border. The subsequent live album Rock Spectacle sealing their acceptance Stateside.

Repairing to the studio in early 1998 with co-producers Susan Rogers and David Leonard, the resulting collection of songs was christened Stunt. It's from this latest set that One Week was singled out, making its presence felt at the top of the US singles chart last year. Displaying a hip-hop influence that the band had never previously indulged on any previous recording, the song very nearly didn't get finished. Says BNL's guitarist and co-writer Ed Robertson, 'I never thought I'd finish that song, as soon as I started I was afraid to write it. Hip-hop, rapping and freestyling have been a part of what we do as a live band since the beginning, but it's never really reared its head on any of our records.' The song's co-writer and vocalist Steven Page adds, "I love One Week because it's so different from stuff that we've done before, but at the same time it has a lot of similarities with our live show.'

Up for a Grammy Award on February 24th for the song, it seems that that the Canadian troubadours have finally arrived on an international level.

The album Stunt is released by Reprise in the UK on February 22nd.