Illustration: Enis Cisic

Last week, the multi-platinum band Barenaked Ladies announced that their 16th studio album Detour de Force will be released on July 16, 2021, as well as releasing topical new single ‘New Disaster’ which was performed on The Morning Show. Stream / purchase ‘New Disaster’ HERE.
Ed Robertson (Songwriter, lead singer, guitarist) says of ‘New Disaster’, “It is about the distraction of modern politics coupled with the pressures of the 24-hour news cycle, which is so sensational, un-vetted and un-researched. It seemed like the Nostradamus predictions of new disaster were getting worse and worse, even after we recorded the song.”
Today they share an animated video for the new single to go alongside the track’s topical subject matter. It uses a graphic novel style presentation with comic book visual language to tell the story of the quintessential family unit who are watching the news. The mother and father are hypnotised by the TV screen and the son - by his mobile phone screen.  The screens are showing chaos and destruction in the 24-hour news style, with an antagonistic anchorman and aggressive advertising, complete with nods to films like Dr.Strangelove and They Live.  However, the little girl sees past the screen and her spell is broken by the music of Barenaked Ladies. She becomes a part of the music and brings that joy back to the living room and liberates the hypnosis of the rest of her family.
It was created, illustrated and animated by Sarajevo (B&H) based artists Enis Cisic and Toni Huml. Cisic has had his work shown in festivals and galleries internationally, and seen on the pages of Marvel comics. He was the artist behind the award-winning comic book “The Secret of Nikola Tesla”. Huml has worked on multiple award-winning music videos, animated short forms, and feature film VFX.
The eagerly awaited album was produced by JUNO and Grammy award winner Eric Ratz and Mark Howard, and features 14 newly minted tracks including the Consequence premiered ‘Flip’, a buoyant and sonically adventurous debut single and BNL’s first new music in four years. Detour de Force is available to pre-order HERE and is available on CD and digital formats, along with a limited edition blue double vinyl featuring a bonus track.
Detour de Force is BNL at its most ambitious, accomplished, intricate, intentional -- and, in some ways, circumstantial. Its gestation was long and exacerbated (as so many things have been) by the global pandemic. The good news is that it's BNL's most broad-reaching and diverse work to date -- fusing the distinct writing voices of Robertson, Hearn and Creeggan into a cohesive work from the stand-out tracks ‘Flip’, ‘New Disaster’, and ‘Good Life’, to the uptempo fun of ‘Flat Earth’, the playful and country-flavoured ‘Roll Out’ to the gentle melodics of ‘Live Well’, ‘The National Park’, ‘God Forbid’, and ‘Man Made Lake’ to the sonic roller coaster of the album-closing ‘Internal Dynamo’.
The depth goes beyond sonics throughout the album. Though there's certainly the verbal playfulness and whimsy that's part of BNL's stock in trade, many of the songs have a reflective and philosophical, sometimes topical, underpinning that's also long been part of the BNL makeup.
"We've always liked that our band is very diverse in what we do," says Robertson, "and on this record I really enjoyed the exploration. This record is a journey. Taking off one song would tip it in a way we didn't feel was representative of the record we made. We wanted everything that's here to be part of the record."
Adds Tyler Stewart, "This is some of our strongest material in 30 years, easily. I think it stands up there with our best albums. It hangs with ‘Gordon,’ or it hangs with ‘Maroon."
BNL wasn't dormant as the world shut down -- evidence the group's spirited "Selfie Cam Jam" series and Robertson’s weekly Friday livestreams online, both for charity, as well as a pair of virtual concerts. But the pause brought a fresh perspective to where the band wanted Detour de Force to go.
"The pandemic really affected the album in an interesting way," recalls Jim Creeggan, who penned a pair of the Detour de Force songs. "I was getting calls from friends to do remote-based stuff, people asking each other to add something to those projects. So we started reaching out and bringing other things into what we were doing."
"We took several detours de force," acknowledges Kevin Hearn, "but I think what you get is a beautiful hybrid of a live off-the-floor band, all the way to full-on production numbers.' It's kind of reminiscent of ‘Stunt’.”
"There was a lot that was amazing about recording at the cottage," recalls Robertson, who wrote songs on his own and with friends Kevin Griffin, Craig Wiseman, Donovan Woods and Danny Michel. "The focus was great. The vibe was great. The hang was great. It was super positive for the band dynamic."  Virtual guests were also invited, including original BNL keyboardist Andy Creeggan (Jim's brother), all-star singer and bassist Fernando Saunders and MOOG bass pedals borrowed from Rush's Geddy Lee even make an appearance.
Over the course of 33 years, the beloved quartet has sold 15 million records worldwide and built up an arsenal of hits such as ‘If I Had $1,000,000’, ‘One Week’, ‘Pinch Me’, and ‘The Big Bang Theory Them’. Widely acknowledged as one of the best live acts on the planet, BNL has hosted a cruise, had its own ice cream flavour, amassed eight JUNO Awards, and was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2018. As Ed Robertson, Jim Creeggan, Tyler Stewart and Kevin Hearn put it on Detour de Force, "Wasn't easy but it turned out alright/Wouldn't trade it for another...You don't wanna miss this mutha".
Barenaked Ladies are set to tour the UK this Autumn including London’s legendary Royal Albert Hall with special guest KT Tunstall, and they will be joined by longtime tour companion and comedian Boothby Graffoe on all dates. Rescheduled from earlier this year.
2021 UK TOUR DATES:
Tuesday 19th October - Newcastle University, Newcastle~
Wednesday 20th October - Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen~
Thursday 21st October - Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow~
Saturday 23rd October - The Forum, Bath~
Sunday 24th October - O2 Ritz, Manchester~
Tuesday 26th October - Corn Exchange, Cambridge~
Wednesday 27th October - O2 Institute, Birmingham~
Friday 29th October - Beckett University, Leeds~
Saturday 30th October - Guildhall, Portsmouth~
Sunday 31st October - Royal Albert Hall, London~+
~Supported by Boothby Graffoe 
+Supported by KT Tunstall
Tickets available HERE

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