Published Nov 24, 2014Known primarily for his multi-instrumental work with Canadian alt-rock mainstays Barenaked Ladies, Kevin Hearn has a host of other impressive entries on his musical resume that should not be overlooked. Primarily a keyboard player, he has released a handful of solo records, collaborated with the Rheostatics and toured as a member of the late Lou Reed's live band, but Hearn's songwriting and arranging skills shine most on his solo works, and Days In Frames evinces this nicely. At only 37 minutes in length, the record is short, sweet and captivating, touching on themes of life, death, love and loss.
Hearn expertly navigates various genres in order to touch on each of these themes. The emotive, free-flowing piano melody of opener "Gallerina" is a stunning backdrop for a unorthodox tale of unrequited love between a portrait and an art gallery worker, while some downcast dub reggae is well-suited to the woeful yet humorous "You Wrecked Me." Delicate touches of classical music adorn "Sugar Water," while listeners can find some more pop-oriented fare on "Up Above" and "Best Day Yet."
Much like he and his Barenaked bandmates have been known to do as a group, Hearn succeeds in writing in these different styles without making the album feel like a collection of influences that were forced together. While these songs are strikingly personal in a lyrical sense, the man's reliance on a relatively simplistic rhyme scheme at times feels a bit repetitive across the record. Still, that's a minor blemish on an otherwise delightful and engaging record. (Roaring Girl)