Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sean McCann: "Help Your Self" (album review)

Sean McCann is best known as one of the driving forces behind long-time East Coast favorites Great Big Sea.  Every once in awhile though, he gives us a solo record of his own.  January 28th is one of those times, as he will release the album Help Your Self.

The album is not groundbreaking by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a refreshing does of pop rock.  It kicks off with the sharp, melodic "Fire", which boasts a splendidly warm chorus.  The most catchy tune on the record is the playful "Red Wine & Whisky".

Of course, there are some hints of Great Big Sea on the record.  The rhythm undertones on "Run" and the toe-tapping "Wish You Well" are certainly among them.  The propulsive drum line on the title track is reminiscent of many a GBS shanty.

Recent Great Big Sea albums have been plagued by a number of weak, uninspired numbers.  That continues on Help Your Self to an extent as well.  Tracks like "For a Long Time Now" and "Hold Me Mother", are snoozy toss-offs.

McCann tries to go out of his comfort zone with "Stone Cold Heart".  The song is an attempt at atmospheric rock that misfires, and not just because of the limp drum machine poof.  He has more success with the Blue Rodeo-ish ballad "One More One and Only".

Overall Help Your Self is a pleasant adult pop record, and one which thankfully isn't simply a 'lite' version of Great Big Sea.

Best tracks: "Red Wine & Whisky", "Fire"

Track listing for Help Your Self:
  • Fire
  • Run
  • Red Wine & Whisky
  • Stone Cold Heart
  • Wish You Well
  • Help Your Self
  • One More One and Only
  • Stronger
  • For a Long Time Now

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