Published Jan 18, 2021Tragically Hip guitarist Rob Baker and Odds frontman Craig Northey have announced a third full-length LP as Strippers Union. Double album The Undertaking will mark the pair's first effort under the moniker in nearly a decade.
The first disc of The Undertaking will be released digitally on February 5 through the Orchard, while the second disc will land on March 12. A limited-edition vinyl pressing featuring both halves arrives February 5.
The 18-track The Undertaking follows Baker and Northey's 2006 debut Stripper's Union Local 518, and 2011 follow-up The Deuce. The Undertaking opener "We Are the Underworld" can be heard in the player below.
"Why so long a wait between albums? These last 10 years have had their share of unexpected twists and turns," Baker writes in an accompanying essay. "Suffice it to say that my life was in upheaval. My lifelong dream, which was embodied by the Hip, had come to a sudden and very final end. It was, oddly, both profoundly sad and fulfilling, and it left a void for me. What was I to do now?"
Baker shares that he began writing and recording at home, collecting "more than 50" demos that he came to view as Strippers Union material. He would bring them to Northey in the spring of 2018, and the pair came away with 18 finished songs by the start of 2020.
Early last year, Baker and Northey enlisted the latter's Odds bandmates, drummer Pat Steward and bassist Doug Elliott, for sessions at Northey's Doghouse of Thunder Studio in Northern Vancouver. The Undertaking was mixed at the Hip's Bathouse Studios by in-house engineer Nyles Spencer.
"The whole process is like a prolonged meditation for me," Baker concludes of the music-making. "But my greatest joy in this Undertaking was in my collaborations — working with Craig is always joyful and productive, sitting back and watching Pat and Doug breathe life into my ideas, working with Nyles and [vocalist Emily Fennel] to bring these songs to a final state — its been beyond gratifying. The circumstances of these days were living through presented a host of challenges, but we adapt and continue - the alternative would be to stop doing what we love, and that is not acceptable."
You can read Baker's complete essay here.
1. We Are The Underworld
2. Take The Edge Off
3. Traveller Traveller
4. The Enforcer
7. Too Close To The Truth
8. I'll Find You In The Mountains
9. When I Come Back As A Dog
10. Into Your Arms (The End)
11. No Fear
12. Take It Back
13. No Rain Tonight
14. Permanent Damage
15. Damn Hallelujah
16. Way Down
17. Identify Thief
18. All Clear
Pre-order The Undertaking.