Review: Charles Spearin - The Happiness Project

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Charles Spearin
The Happiness Project
Arts & Crafts

From Charles Spearin, member of Broken Social Scene and one of the founders of post-rockers Do Make Say Think, comes one of the most exciting and interesting records in recent memory. For The Happiness Project, Spearin interviewed a number of his Toronto neighbors, then worked with a cadre of talented musicians to translate the melodies and rhythms of their speech into musical compositions. On the opening track, "Mrs. Morris," a tenor saxophone mirrors the title character's lilting voice, turning her discourse on the delights of love into a jaunty, jazzy romp. "Vittoria" finds a swinging ensemble riffing danceably on a child's stuttering explanation of her schoolwork. Later on the record, a child's voice again provides the inspiration for "Ondine." This time, however, a violin either mocks or empathizes with a child's whining about a snack. The album, which runs just over half an hour, is packed with creative ideas that are far more listenable and accessible than one might expect from such an adventurous work. Modestly, Spearin calls these "the melodies of every day life," but he's accomplished something truly remarkable with these compositions.

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