Kevin Hearn & Thin Buckle
First Appeared in The Music Box, July 2004, Volume 11, #7
Written by John Metzger
Since 1995, Kevin Hearn has been playing keyboards for Barenaked Ladies, but those who arenít fans of the Canadian alt-pop bandís goofy antics and silly songs shouldnít hold Hearnís regular gig against him. His solo outings have been far more serious affairs brought about, at least in part, by the tragic events of his own life. His sophomore effort H-Wing, for example, was written while he was undergoing treatment for chronic myelogenous leukemia, a form of blood cancer, and the album understandably reflected his tortured emotions about the experience.
Hearnís latest outing Night Light is considerably lighter in tone, containing reflections upon past relationships with the type of honest, heartfelt introspection that even a strange, bluegrass-tinged cover of Black Sabbathís War Pigs canít destroy. Thatís not to say that there isnít a dark undercurrent that flows through Hearnís lyrics, but much like his distant memories are filtered by the passage of time, the feelings of emptiness, loneliness, and longing that lurk within his words are made bittersweet by the gentle, sometimes lovely sway of his arrangements. In short, the music seems to embrace a sense of joyfulness at the adventure of life, offering a flicker of hope that springs from the knowledge that no matter how bad things appear to be at any given moment, they are likely to improve eventually. Although Night Light never quite reaches the pinnacle of Warren Zanesí Memory Girls, Hearn strives for the same ambitious end as he rummages through his old snapshots and keepsakes, and his simple, unfettered pop songs leave hope that one day Barenaked Ladies just might leave its quirkiness behind ó if only the group would make better use of his considerable talent.
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2004 The Music Box