This debut full-length arrives years after Shawn Hewitt's buzz has come and gone, so you have to wonder what the hell took the Scarborough native so long. Spare Hearts is labouriously over-produced (by Broken Social Scene's Dave Newfeld, among two others); maybe the label kept sending him back to come up with a legitimate single. But they must have given up, because there isn't one here.
Hewitt sounds lost on his own record, trying to capture Radiohead's grandiose experimentation and Coldpay's gloss instead of writing basic songwriting hooks, the kind his contemporaries like Rufus Wainwright successfully build from. Hewitt is a talented vocalist with obvious creative energy to spare, but his personality is all but buried in a debut this bloated and overcooked.