Charles Spearin The Happiness Project

If Charles Spearin's intention was to make an inventive, community-minded music endeavour sound as hokey as possible on paper, mission accomplished, man! Yet in spite of the hippie-dippy notion propelling a record where musicians take their cues from the vocal cadences of Spearin's neighbours, who come over to record their thoughts about happiness, the results are lively, humorous, and intriguing. Spearin's membership in sprawling bands like Do Make Say Think and Broken Social Scene confirms his belief in "power to the people" and, since he's likely immersed in a lot of hot air, it's safe to assume he's developed different ways of filtering it all. So when "Mrs. Morris" heads over to his house for an interview, Spearin doesn't just process the meaning of her statement "Happiness is love," he finds the melody in it, the music she naturally conveys. Band-mates like Julie Penner, Justin Small and Kevin Drew then convene upon Spearin's neighbours' stories to harmonize with these voices using occasionally silly, yet generally lovely, jazz-infused instrumentation. Aptly named, The Happiness Project is a sunny invention by Charles Spearin. (Arts & Crafts)