[Sony Music Canada, 2008]
For his first solo effort since breaking away from his successful band, Our Lady Peace, Canadian vocalist Raine Maida wears his influences on his sleeve. Kerouac inspired lyrics send him off into slam tangents and a title pulled straight from a Leonard Cohen song, “The Hunter’s Lullaby” is a folkie nod to those who have come before.
Maida’s voice has undergone a transformation. His trademark nasal whine tapered off with the last two OLP albums, traded here for a more subdued tone that works well within the acoustic confines of this album. Maida has chosen to go his own way, creating a simplified, more organic record that aptly demonstrates his talent as a lyricist, producer and vocalist.
Maida’s wife, singer Chantal Kreviazuk, is a feature on this album. Ghostly notes burst from her piano, and her syrupy vocals show up on nearly every song.
On his MySpace page, the singer notes that the theme of the record is ”the quest to be a decent human being.” Maida’s political opinions and activist tendencies are rife here. An advocate of War Child, a Canadian organization that brings humanitarian aid to war-stricken children around the world, Maida has found a place in his music to share his wider world view. The album features “China Doll,” a song inspired by Al Gore’s environmental documentary An Inconvenient Truth, which explores the ongoing destruction of our environment. This album brings the ethics of modern living to the forefront of the listener’s mind, exemplified by “China Doll’s” poignant lyrics. “Oh, she’s your china doll / She’s patient, but won’t be for long / She’s hopeful, but time’s running low / She’s gone before you know.”
At only 34 minutes, it’s a short album, but has been distilled into the best bits—the lack of filler is refreshing. The Hunter’s Lullaby isn’t the radio-friendly rock that was Our Lady Peace, but that’s not a bad thing. Just because it’s not overly commercial doesn’t mean it’s not good. In fact, it’s better.