Sean McCann Help Your Self

Sean McCann Help Your Self
6
By its very nature, the act of stepping away from the familiar is always uncomfortable. And what if what's familiar to you is being in a band that became a sort of Canadian institution? Séan McCann's third record, and first post-Great Big Sea, finds him working through the growing pains of finding his own musical voice as he emerges from the painful reality of surviving a real-life heart attack.

The awkward moments come flying out of the gate with unfortunate forays into some of the more adult contemporary influences that plagued much of Great Big Sea's later releases ("Run") and a disheartening turn into modern country ("Red Wine & Whiskey") but after that, McCann starts to find himself with relative ease, sounding at home when his folk roots creep further into the music.

As with anyone dealing with serious personal issues, the lyrics sometimes get a little too earnest and blunt from to time, but that earnestness works in McCann's favour when he goes into all-out attack mode, lashing out at anything standing in his way on the sublime title track or achingly calling to his mother for support on the beautiful "Hold Me Mother." It's those momentary flashes of cathartic brilliance on a rather uneven yet record that bode well for McCann's post-Sea musical life. (Independent)