Personnel: Paul Langlois (vocals, guitar); Gord Sinclair, Gordon Edgar Downie (vocals); Rob Baker (guitar); Dave Hamelin, Kevin Drew (keyboards, percussion); Johnny Fay (drums, percussion).
Audio Mixers: Dave Hamelin; Nyles Spencer; Kevin Drew.
Recording information: Revolution Recording; The Bathouse.
Photographer: Andy Prokh.
Just prior to the June 2016 release of Man Machine Poem, the Tragically Hip announced that frontman Gord Downie was diagnosed with brain cancer. Given this news, it's hard not to listen to the album through the prism of mortality, even though the album was completed prior to his illness. Nevertheless, Man Machine Poem does contain an undercurrent of contemplation, darkly pulsing to understated rhythms and playing to muted arenas. Sometimes the tempos quicken, Downie's singing grows impassioned, but usually the album is quietly roiling, sometimes drifting toward the meditative (as on the otherwise profane "Tired as F***"), yet always circling back to fierce, searching spiritual rock. "Machine" ends the album on something of a positive note -- it's not only one of the faster numbers, it's expansive where the rest of the record recedes -- but what lasts is that hunger for answers, a sentiment that suits a band facing a middle age but also could act as a fitting farewell for the Tragically Hip. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine