Tom Hooper The Unexplored Cosmos

After the "now you see it, now you don't" Grapes of Wrath reunion, bassist Tom Hooper returns with his first solo album. Nothing unexpected here, although it's a lot better than Ginger ever was, perhaps because it was made at a relaxed pace at Hooper's Saltspring Island home. After his tumultuous business career, it's interesting to hear him sing, "If you try too hard, you will go insane/if you try too hard, you will make the same mistakes as me." Hooper handles all instruments except for drums, where his brother and ex-Grape Chris sits in, and many of the Grapes' characteristics are present, including lush harmonies, Hooper's underrated bass playing and vintage pop melodies; it says a lot when a George Harrison cover slips in seamlessly with the original material. (Bullseye Canada)