Sound — 10
'Fully Completely', The Hip's third studio album, is widely considered to be the pinnacle of musical achievment for the band, continuing the trend started by 'Up To Here' and somewhat precipitated by 'Road Apples'. By this point, the band has truely found their sound, and it rings at its purest. After this album, the Hip began to move in a new direction, and some would argue that they never returned to the form heard on this album (for better or worse). This was also the band's breakthrough international album; tracks like 'Courage' and 'Wheat Kings' brought The Hip to the United States. Like 'Moving Pictures' for Rush, or 'Alive!' for Kiss, Fully Completely, displays perfectly what the Hip are all about. Recording quality is sharp; the band is more than the sum of its parts, though all can be heard. Rob Baker also starts experimenting, with great success, with new guitars (steel, slide/dobro). Sound, from a musical perspective is innovative and diverse; Wheat Kings is a soft and beautiful folky ballad, while 'The Wherewithal' is as hard as the Hip ever get. 'Courage', 'At The Hundredth Meridian', and 'Fifty Mission Cap' are straight-up rock tunes; staples of Canadian classic rock radio. Bob Dylan lyrics meet Steppenwolf sound. Pure magic that can only be understood by listening.
Lyrics — 10
Amazing. The Hip are light-years above 99% of rock and roll bands from a lyrical perspective, and Fully Completely is arguably Gord Downie's finest display. The words do just enough to keep the song moving; Downie's voice has obviously matured. The songs aren't preachy or pretentious, and the lyrics give just enough to the song to make them memorable. Go listen.
Overall Impression — 10
One of the most over-looked albums from one of the most over-looked bands in North America. The Tragically Hip have made a name for themselves in Canada with good reason; they are an incredibly talented group of musicians, and a terrific group of preformers. Courage is my favourite song of all time, and this is coming from someone who listens and appreciates all types of music. I love every song on this album, and I wish that it were longer. There is something about these songs that is just intangible; all I can say is that if you appreciate no-bullshit rock and roll along the lines of a band liken AC/DC or early Rush, go get this album. If not, go get it anyway.