[20 May 2014]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Bryan Potvin is best known as a member of seminal ‘80s and ‘90s Canadian band the Northern Pikes. Honestly, if you walk into a bar in Canada, and they don’t have his penned hit “She Ain’t Pretty” on the jukebox, you can pretty much turn on your heel and walk out. Since his stint in the Pikes, Potvin has toured outposts from Malaysia to Madagascar, from Sri Lanka to South Africa, recording music for the Discovery Channel series Beyond Survival. However, he discovered that he best was at his own writing and recording his own music, which leads us to his latest release, Heartbledwhite. Definitely positioned so that it will be a Top 40 hit, despite the fact that Potvin is probably past his prime for penning Top 40 hits, this album is basically a producer’s showcase of what can be done in the studio with a deft hand in the songwriting department.
This album is definitely not a retread of the Pikes 2.0. This is strictly middle of the road pop, but it’s pretty good for what it is. “It Don’t Bother Me” is a stab at pseudo funk, and works well as an inventory of all of the things the song’s protagonist seemingly would dislike about his girlfriend. Meanwhile, ballad “You’re Not Alone” works well with spoken-word samples. And “Fire and Gasoline” is probably the closest thing on the album that reaches the same intensity of the Northern Pikes. Overall, even though this is pretty slick and commercial stuff, it’s pretty not bad. It won’t make you forget about the heights that the Northern Pikes reached in their heyday, but as far as standard pop goes, this is pretty sterling stuff. It’s apt that the Pikes had a song called “Things I Do For Money”, not written by Potvin, because this is an apt document of all the things you can do with money and a good producer. Heartbledwhite is a slick package, and appealing to those who like a good pop song now and then.