|Steven Page — Heal Thyself Pt.1: Instinct (March 11, 2016)|
Steven Page — Heal Thyself Pt.1: Instinct (March 11, 2016)♠ The former Barenaked Ladies frontman turned solo performer has a powerful tenor croon and a knack for literate, catchy songs about love and life.
♠ Heal Thyself Pt 1 — Instinct is a glorious triumph; a snarky yet upbeat, self–reflective yet socially aware collection of finely crafted power–pop songs that attest to Page’s versatility and craftsmanship in songwriting. But after all this time, that’s no surprise, surprise.Born: June 22, 1970 in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
Location: Manlius, NY
Album release: March 11, 2016
Record Label: ole/Anthem Entertainment
01 There’s a Melody, Pt. 1 1:06
02 The Work at Hand 3:59
03 Here’s What It Takes 3:41
04 I Can See My House From Here 5:24
05 Manchild 4:41
06 If That’s Your Way 3:28
07 Mama 4:06
08 Surprise Surprise 4:45
09 Hole in the Moonlight 4:00
10 Linda Ronstadt in the 70s 3:54
11 There’s a Melody, Pt. 2 3:54
12 No Song Left to Save Me 4:04
♠ Craig Northey / Steven Page 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12
♠ Steven Page 1, 10, 11
♠ João Carvalho Mastering Engineer
♠ John Fields Mixing Engineer, Producer, Recording
♠ Vic Florencia Mixing Engineer, Recording
♠ Paul Forgues Recording
♠ Paul David Hager Mixing Engineer
♠ Craig Northey Composer, Producer, Recording
♠ Steven Page Composer, Producer, Recording
By Matthew McKean, Published Mar 11, 2016 / Score: 9
♠ Steven Page’s deluxe voice is easily one of the best in Canadian music.
♠ If I’d said “the best,” you’d argue, and that’s not why we’re here. The point is that while there’s no mistaking (or duplicating) a Steven Page song, the singer/songwriter has never allowed his powerful tenor to do all the heavy lifting. His lyrics are as distinctive as his pop sound.
♠ Heal Thyself Pt. 1: Instinct is the first instalment of a cathartic series of new songs and new beginnings. It’s Page’s fifth album since splitting with Barenaked Ladies, but in many ways, it feels like another first.
♠ The 12 tracks here find Page in peak form, traversing the space between self–healing and artistic creation. Most welcome and perhaps most revealing is first single “Surprise, Surprise,” in which Page sings: “One day you’ll say, enough of this self–defeating stuff.” The song, according to the artist’s Facebook page, is about “breaking the cycle of depression and dread and finding a new way of moving forward with life.”
♠ The rest of the album documents various stages along the way. From the pithy opening track, “There’s a Melody,” about the creative process, to “Here’s What It Takes,” about trying to help others while also helping yourself, to “Hole in the Moonlight,” about finding peace where you don’t expect it, Page’s songwriting is beautiful, infectious and touching.
♠ Never one to shy away from political commentary, Page tackles what’s wrong with the world but also the many reasons for carrying on, in a series of stunningly crafted songs that bring modern production to an earlier sound. Tracks like “I Can See My House From Here,” “Linda Ronstadt In The 70s” and “Manchild” are suffused with ‘60s and ‘70s pop influences, while “The Work at Hand” is vintage ‘80s.
♠ Produced by the musician’s longtime friend and collaborator, Craig Northey, whose band the Odds play on a number of tracks here, the album was recorded in Vancouver and Toronto and also features Page’s live band, the Original Six, comprised of Bryden, Jay and Jesse Baird, with Kevin Fox and Karen Graves on strings.
♠ Steven Page’s voice has always attached itself to others and moved them, and so will this record. Until part two comes out, you won’t hear another album quite like it. ♠ http://exclaim.ca/
By ALLAN RAIBLE, Mar 23, 2016, 4:25 AM ET / Score: ****
♠ Former Barenaked Ladies singer, Steven Page has dropped his first album in six years and it plays like a power–pop rock opera of sorts about healing and redemption. It sounds subject–wise like it was crafted in response to dealing with the foibles of being human and at the same time, it finds Page delivering some of his sharpest melodies to date.
♠ “The Work At Hand” is a glimmering slice of modern new–wave while “I Can See My House From Here,” has a timelessly elegant lift. “Here’s What It Takes” merges a classic pop sensibility with a strong horn–section. “Mama” is some sing–along reggae while “Surprise Surprise” is an open and frank call for help and a relief that dirty laundry is out in the open and being aired.
♠ This album plays like a rich therapeutic venting session full of stories of odd behavior, struggles with religious notions and drugs. It’s hard to listen to listen to the drug references in “Here’s What It Takes” without being reminded of Page’s 2008 cocaine–related arrest that occurred just before he and his former bandmates parted ways.
♠ This is an honest, highly appealing, highly catchy album meant (as its title suggests) to heal some obvious inner wounds. Its subjects may hit some nerves, but Page is an apt songsmith and he’s simply trying to make sense of things the best way he knows how. Through his art.
♠ “I Can See My House From Here” / This song tells the story of a late–night conversation with Jesus, but not in the way you are probably thinking. It depicts Jesus as having a flickering halo and wanting to be human again, telling Page’s protagonist, “You can go it alone.” The fact that Page borrows a small section of melody from George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord,” speaks volumes about the way this was intended. Since this is a concept album about coping, it is interesting that in Page’s world even the deities have existential doubts. This may be Page’s sharpest piece of songwriting since “Brian Wilson.”
♠ “The Work At Hand” / This song has a tight, claustrophobic tension before it blasts into its hook–heavy center. It is spiky and dreamy sounding at the same time.
♠ “Hole In The Moonlight” / This is a mature piano ballad, showing once again that he is a gifted composer. Considering how jokey a writer he can be, Page does have a serious side. This album in general has a very snarky brand of energy, but his abilities as at craftsman are at their peak. ♠ http://abcnews.go.com/
Liam McKinnon, March 2, 2016
|Steven Page — Heal Thyself Pt.1: Instinct (March 11, 2016)|