World Container, the Tragically Hip's eleventh studio LP, finds the Canadian quintet going for their biggest sound to date. Sure, their previous two albums -- 2002's In Violet Light and 2004's In Between Evolution -- found the band experimenting with a larger guitar-driven sound, but not in the same way that World Container reaches for the brightest sound imaginable. This ten-song set comes off with as much fever as the band's live shows, and frontman Gordon Downie finally captures his bona fide rock star appeal as a performer on record! Songs such as "Yer Not the Ocean" and "In View" retain that intoxicating energy that's made the Tragically Hip one of the decade's favorite concert draws. Working with veteran rock producer Bob Rock (Mötley Crüe, Metallica), was one smart move. As he did with Mötley Crüe's Dr. Feelgood album, Rock zeroed in on what makes the Tragically Hip such a vital rock band -- the dual guitar attack of Paul Langlois and Rob Baker, and Downie's clever and poetic state of mind as expressed in his singing -- and drew it in, forcing the Tragically Hip to embrace a sonically richer sound while doing some soul searching for what rock & roll ultimately means to them. The swaggering hard rock leanings of "The Drop-Off" are as classic as anything from Day for Night, while gritty, anthemic moments like "The Kids Don't Get It" and "Luv (sic)" define the band's newfound rawness. "The Lonely End of the Rink," which debuted on Hockey Night in Canada one week prior to the album's Canadian release in October 2006, continues on that path with its U2-like, arena-sized guitar riffs, and Downie, too, has never sounded better. The poetic obliqueness that's carried his lyrics since the Tragically Hip's 1983 inception has obviously made him a Canadian celebrity, but Rock tossed such dramatics aside, encouraging Downie to really rip it all apart and say things in a more straightforward fashion. Getting back to a simple approach might have been a difficult find at first, but World Container does it all without losing sight of what the Tragically Hip have achieved in their 20-plus years in the business, once again solidifying their mark on alternative rock.
AllMusic Review by MacKenzie Wilson