StuntBy JOHNNY BLACK, Mojo.
Sixth album from Canada's US-conquering harmony rockers. Getting a handle on what Barenaked Ladies do isn't easy, but the core of the thing seems to be hopeless romanticism fuelled by quiet desperation. His voice compounded of equal parts weary cynicism and forlorn yearning, Steven Page sings, "If I were the sun, you'd be in shadow/And if I had a gun, there'd be no tomorrow", in I'll Be That Girl, the curiously enchanting love song of a suicidal cross-dresser. Page's songwriting partner Ed Robertson, on the other hand, delivers a surreal tale of a poverty-stricken couple in a polluted neighbourhood who "dance to the radio station that plays in our teeth", in tones sweet enough to pour on a waffle. Those who've followed this quintet since their stunning 1992 debut, Gordon, know that nothing's changed. Achingly beautiful harmony-rock, embellished by an astonishingly eclectic instrumental palette and topped with mind-boggling lyrics, has been their playground from day one. It's just that now it sells in truckloads, as it always should have done.