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Barenaked Ladies

All in Good Time

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Barenaked Ladies are easy to pick on: geeky, chunky, Canadian, do blow, get arrested...Wait, what? That's why their most prolific songwriter, Steven Page, got booted last year.

On All in Good Time, BNL go off on Page, managing to sound both like themselves and like heartbroken teenagers, as in the opener, "You Runaway": "I tried to be your brother/You cried and ran for cover/I made a mess, who doesn't/I did my best but it wasn't enough." Angsty teenager isn't the worst sound for pop-rock outfits. Unfortunately, "You Runaway," and most of the album is milquetoast. The band's past hits, like "Brian Wilson" and "Pinch Me," were at least highlighted by quirky lyrics memorable to listeners: "I could hide out under there/ I just made you say underwear."

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Well-crafted musical hooks of old abound on this new effort, but lyrical hooks don't. You won't find anything like, "Chickity China the Chinese chicken/You have a drumstick and your brain stops tickin'?" on here, but "Four Seconds" busts out a characteristic rat-a-tat-tat delivery, nifty Balkan-esque guitars and swell vocal harmonies.

BNL has played together for 20 years. It's easy to understand their disappointment in Page, but it's just as easy to hear that though the band may not miss him personally, they miss him musically.

Barenaked Ladies play the Wilma Theatre Thursday, May 20, at 8 PM. $37.50.

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