It's clear that Our Lady Peace has ambition. The title of the band's third album, Happiness Is Not a Fish That You Can Catch, feels like a relic from the late '70s, when even average arena rockers had the ambition to at least title their record as if it were a concept album, or some sort of mystical discourse. Our Lady Peace shares that desire for grandeur, even if its music remains entrenched in the days after Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden conquered the rock world. As a matter of fact, Our Lady's music has pretty much stayed the same since its debut -- the main difference is that now there is an overarching sense of ambition, even pretension, that runs through the music. It doesn't always translate to tape, it may never be something concrete, but it sure as hell can be sensed, which is half the battle. The second half is actually achieving something concrete, and the band needs to jump the next hurdle and get itself out of the post-grunge straightjacket. They do heavy angst guitar rock well, but it hasn't really progressed much since their debut; they simply execute it better. Not even the addition of jazz great Elvin Jones to the final track, "Stealing Babies," changes the sound of the band, which is quite an accomplishment. Since OLP remain tethered to the gargantuan guitars and rhythms of grunge, that means their main distinguishing feature is vocalist Raine Maida, whose convoluted phrasing manages to undercut any melodic hook he may have written. This has been true since their debut, but it fits Happiness the best, since the music also lurches in unpredictable ways without ever really escaping convention. So, it's easy to respect what Our Lady Peace is trying to do with its third album, but it would be easier to like it if the band actually had succeeded.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine