Kevin Hearn / Thin Buckle

H-Wing

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Kevin Hearn seemed to have a good thing going -- a temporary gig with the Barenaked Ladies became permanent just as the band was exploding into the U.S. market -- and then came a diagnosis of leukemia, which caused him to drop everything and fight for his life. Following his recovery, he returned to the Barenaked Ladies and played on albums by Rheostatics and Gordon Downie, but H-Wing is the first time he recorded his own material since that point. It's a very strange album in that it shows two impulses fighting each other -- the mournful "Death Bed Love Letter" is followed by a whimsical song about a "Bonefight at the Museum" ("They've thrown what was left of the tee-ran-a-saurus and Egyptian bowls/It's no fun getting hit in the head with a bone that's a million years old"). The album walks a fine line throughout, and if there's a recurring melancholy throughout it's to be expected. There's still a theme of hope throughout that keeps the album from becoming a bummer.

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