Harnessing temporal issues, Canadian multi-instrumentalist tends to see harmony in hectic affairs.
It took Cary Heuchert two years to engage his muse afresh, and the “tempus fugit” factor plays a vital part in the agenda of the Vancouverite’s most rounded album to date – and the Covid-19 pandemic is only a half of it. More importantly, “Hourglass” must signal a shift in the artist’s approach: by paring back the proto-prog of "Blue Rain" – this record’s predecessor whose calendar layer was obvious too – he bared his singer-songwriter roots. As a result, the ten numbers on display are arrestingly vulnerable, if sharp and cutting to the bone, their lyrical simplicity stressing the strength of the singer’s emotions.
From the transparent acoustic strum and gravely vocals of “This Is The Time” that set the song cycle’s intimate tone, to the otherwise optimistic “When Fortune Smiles” where eerie bluesy licks reign, there’s hardly an insincere, histrionic note here, and though the anxious bliss and cinematic effects which permeate “The Sea Of Faces” may invoke “Mad World” and its stark gloom, the piece’s sonic twist and turn towards light is difficult to ignore. As is the tender, strings-washed balladry behind “You Are The World To Me” – elevated by prominent ivories of LE ORME’s Tony Pagliuca – or the folk-kissed, bass-punctured “From The Corner Of My Eye” that’s flaunting a flute-like Mellotron to add baroque beauty to the mix.
Still, stricken with insistent ticking, “Waiting For You” will signal a new advent of psychedelia in Heuchert’s repertoire, his deadpan delivery contrasting the cut’s inner movement, while “Forever And So Far” brings the ’60s innocence to the table, Cary’s voice fluttering over the solemn piano, before the groovy, raga-tinged “Together” reveals his mastery of infectious electric riff. Yet if “I Don’t Want To Say Goodnight To You” rocks with glittery swagger, the album’s title track presents a philosophic treatise on the passing of time – wrapped in guitar harmonies and posing no harm to the artist’s hypnotic melodicism. The record’s charm may seem slow in showing what’s going on there, but it’s bound to hit hard in the end.