Our Lady Peace skyrocket up the Cdn. charts

PAUL CANTIN

, Last Updated: 12:27 AM ET

Our Lady Peace won the war for domination of the Canadian charts this week, with their new album Happiness ... Is Not A Fish You Can Catch debuting at number one.

The Toronto-based foursome snatched top spot from several heavy competitors, including Nine Inch Nails, whose long-awaited new album The Fragile came in second during its debut week with sales just under 37,000.

With 40,090 records sold between Sept. 21 and Sept. 26, that makes Happiness... the biggest-selling Canadian record to debut at number one this year, said Doug Spence, spokesman for record-sales tracker SoundScan.

"That's no surprise for Canada. Our Lady Peace has had real good success and their career has been building. For this album, it is not a surprise. The numbers are very, very good. Especially for this time of year, which is a slower time of year," Spence said.

The mighty debut bodes well for the band's planned assault on the U.S. market, where Happiness... was released on Tuesday.

"A strong performance in Canada always translates to the states," Spence said.

Coincidentally, the year's only other Canadian chart-topping debut belongs to the Matthew Good Band, whose Beautiful Midnight LP debuted at the top of the chart last week with sales of approximately 25,000.

Retailers have been hungry for the OLP release, and Harry Tam, manager of the HMV store at Polo Park in Winnipeg said he expected Happiness... will have a solid run on the charts.

"We're looking at Our Lady Peace to do well right through to Christmas, for sure," Tam said.

The euphoria of the group's early achievement is tempered by the realization that momentum needs to be sustained over a period of months as they tour and release further singles, said OLP co-manager Eric Lawrence.

"We try here to not think about first-week results, that it's about a campaign, even though I was up at 6 a.m. to check SoundScan," Lawrence joked.

"I think we were confident about this record doing well, up until we found out what records we were going to be up against this week: Nine Inch Nails, Chris Cornell and Sloan. And then we thought, well, the cards will fall where they fall," he said.

"It feels great. There was some real, solid competition. To come ahead of Nine Inch Nails, which has a lot of credibility, feels great."

The video for Happiness...'s first single, "One Man Army" came out well ahead of the album's release, because "we knew that we wanted to be more than your average four-weeks (ahead of release), to give it a chance to get out there," Lawrence added.

It has been just under two years since OLP's last release, Clumsy, which debuted in Jan. 1997 with 26,000 sales and so far has sold 900,000 in Canada and two million worldwide.

"I don't think there is a formula," said Lawrence. "I look at Our Lady Peace and get a good feel from fan-mail and website action, and there's a pretty strong fan-base for this band out there. And you know what? We felt confident we had a strong record, and a record that was ripe for the market."

The group is currently on a sold-out tour with Creed through the U.S. until November, then heads for Europe in December, before returning to play a millenium concert at Ottawa's Corel Centre with Moist and Finger Eleven. Then, Our Lady Peace is eyeing a cross-Canada tour for January-February, Lawrence said.


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