Kevin Hearn’s soft voice, mixed in with delicate keys and the subtle and not-so-subtle train effects in “Northland Train” is enough to make one sink into their seat as they prepare themselves for the journey that is Cloud Maintenance. Although leaning on the pop side, “Don’t Shuffle Me Back” spices up the release with a bit of funk through the contrasting vocals. Straying from the pop route, “Grey Garden” brings more a light rock feel to the release with the guitar and percussion combination. The piece is a pleasant homage to one’s “safe space” and certainly stands out.
Cloud Maintenance’s ability to avoid conforming to a specific genre is what makes it appealing. The album switches from an experimental sound to a retro-pop one with “See You Again,” which is bouncy, upbeat and features some spectacular percussion, although one has to listen carefully to get the full experience of it. One of the saddest songs starts to close out the disc. “The City Of Love” is a somber ballad, which strips Hearn down to a pure and vulnerable state. The finale, “Monsters Anonymous,” is the most interesting cut lyrically on the record, telling the story of various monsters over an alluring beat that is consistent throughout the three minutes. At first listen, one may find that it doesn’t fit with the concept of the album. However, its uniqueness is the missing piece of the puzzle that is Cloud Maintenance.
The former Barenaked Ladies keyboardist and vocalist is already on the rise into a league of his own with this release. Once Cloud Maintenance is over, there’s no doubt that many will find themselves getting on the “Northland Train” again.
In A Word: Fresh