Steven Page asks a lot of questions but he doesn't like giving answers. He'd rather have the conversation in the song. And on Discipline: Heal Thyself, Part II, It's one hell of a conversation.
Recorded in Canada and upstate New York with longtime live bands Odds and The Original Six, and frequent collaborator Craig Northey, Discipline is Page’s fifth solo album and the spiritual follow-up to 2016’s Heal Thyself, Pt. I: Instinct. Musically the album funnels Page’s love of 70s/80s radio-ready soul and R&B through the heady pop prism of David Byrne and Kevin Rowland with some 80s weirdness thrown in. Lyrically it will stop at nothing to knock you on your ass.
None of this is surprising. Page was recently inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame with his former band, the Barenaked Ladies. He has always been a prolific writer of words and hooks, but on Discipline they’re delivered with such a clear-eyed confidence and purposeful vision that somehow it feels like an evolution, a breakthrough and a homecoming all at once. Page deploys existential heft, dystopian visions, savage humor and a killer horn section like a many-headed hydra with sights trained squarely on himself – and by extension the question of what it means to be an artist at all in a time like this.