Spun: Kevin Hearn

By Alastair Starke

Kevin Hearn is the keyboardist for the Barenaked Ladies. Although he is best known for his work with the Canadian alt-rockers, Hearn has worked on an extensive list of side projects, including Thin Buckle, the Cousins and the Rheostatics. Cloud Maintenance, however, is only his second solo album.

Before I go any further, I’d like to ask someone to find Kevin Hearn and give him a hug — this album makes me think that he needs one. Cloud Maintenance is filled with minor chords, soft vocals and depressingly lonely lyrics. Far from being as wispy and unsubstantial as its name may suggest, the album is heavy and emotional — its song-clouds are stormy and grey.

Unsurprisingly, Cloud Maintenance is keyboard-focused. Hearn is a talented keyboardist, but his vocals feel lacking and uninspired. Apart from the occasional vocal tuning slip, Hearn has put together an excellent-sounding album.

The album’s most significant shortcoming doesn’t question Hearn’s musical talent — the songs are good, they are just wearying. This album’s whimsically lonely music leaves the listener drained. Cloud Maintenance may be an album about journeys, but I’m unsure I want to go along for the ride.

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