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Cody Canada & The Departed

HippieLovePunk – 2015 (Underground Sound)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Cody Canada & The Departed

In his previous post-Cross Canadian Ragweed efforts, Cody Canada has not done a lot of writing. The 2014 solo acoustic "Some Old, Some New and a Cover or Two" and the 2011 debut from The Departed "This Is Indian Land" were mostly covers, while on 2012's "Adventus," guitarist and vocalist Seth James (who has since left) was the primary songwriter.

Canada reasserts himself as a prolific singer/songwriter on "HippieLovePunk" with many compositions in the familiar rocking alt.-country style he established in his Ragweed days. One of the strongest rockers is "Boss of Me" in which the singer addresses a seemingly doomed union with a troubled, overbearing woman ("You hide behind windows, hide behind walls/You hide behind lipstick and alcohol" and "Your mind is burning from irrational action spinning upside down"). Similarly the opening "Comin' To Me" seems to deal with a failed relationship ("All that time I was so depressed/Overcooked and underdressed/This is like a hole in my chest/Let's get it over and give it a rest").

Canada turns his critical gaze on society as a whole. In "Revolution," he admonishes apathy ("Do we all just run and hide/Till the very last one has died") while urging action ("Come on people, can't you decide/Come together, amplify"). In "Great Big Nothin," Canada recalls better days ("There was a time when a word meant something/You made a promise with a grip and a forward glance") while fearing for the future ("To some degree has it all been just a lie/Patiently we give it life/Watch it die before it learns to fly").

Canada's mellow side is nicely displayed in the touching ballad "All Nighter," on which he is joined on vocals by members of the Braun family (brothers Willy and Cody of Reckless Kelly, Micky and Gary of Micky and the Motorcars along with patriarch Muzzie Braun), as well as the closing unidentified acoustic tune.

Canada's solid vocals, strong tunes and slick guitar licks are well supported throughout by Jeremy Plato (bass), Chris Doege (drums) and Steve Littleton (keyboards). Produced by the members of the band (credited collectively as "The Departed"), this is an impressive collection.