Raine Maida, Love Hope Hero

Raine Maida is best known for his work as front man for Canadian rock juggernaut, Our Lady Peace. While I'm not a huge fan of their recent work, I do remember hearing OLP back in 1994, especially when their second single "Starseed" hit radio waves. There was a mystic quality about OLP's debut, Naveed , and ten years later I still have a deep love for it. So because of this revelation, I recently hit the Internet in search for OLP related info and happened upon Maida's four-song solo EP, Love Hope Hero.

The basic instrumentation on Love Hope Hero is focused around Maida's acoustic plucking, featuring stylized vocals that are half sung and half spoken — just call him the pop-beatnik. However, what I really enjoyed about the album is how every song is alive with thoughtful piano parts, penny whistles, violins, handclaps, and even some hip-hop inspired beats.

Opening with the beat heavy "Sex Love and Honey," it quickly becomes apparent that Maida is out to break out of the hard rock mould that is OLP. "Careful What You Wish For" (co-written with wife Chantal Kreviazuk) sounds like a sinister Middle Eastern waltz, on "One Second Chance" Maida calls out his influences from Saul Williams to Cat Stevens and even South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker. The most powerful track here is the acoustic ballad "Earthless," which features a tender guitar part that will break your heart as Maida rhymes about a women looking for courage.

Love Hope Hero is a departure for Maida, but every track still has a pop flare that will reel OLP fans in, while still enticing new fans that don't necessarily listen to rock radio. (Kingnoise Records)

Rating: 3 Out Of 5 Stars

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