If you're one of those people convinced that, with the exceptions of Jim Carrey and Mike Myers, Canadians aren't much fun, it's understandable. Where else but the land of block heaters and hockey-mulleted hosers would an unapologetic introvert such as Hayden be something of a star?
Over the course of a twelve-year career, the man known to his mom as Paul Desser has quietly morphed from a morose alt-folk slacker to an MOR icon for aging Gen-Xers. What's most startling on In Field & Town is that he actually seems to have lightened up. When Hayden first arrived in 1995 with the song "Bad As They Seem", he was the guy so down he could barely crawl out of bed for a liquor-store run. Four albums later, you can almost imagine him cracking a smile on the winsome "Lonely Security Guard", which tells the story of a rent-a-cop who makes origami cranes out of business cards rather than watching the security-camera monitors.
Hayden can still sound as melancholy as a month of Sundays ("More Than Alive"), but he's not afraid to mix things up. Grungy sheets of distortion make the title track a must-download, while the piano-powered "The Van Song" does off-key indie-rock every bit as beautifully as those smartasses from Pavement.
What ultimately makes In Field & Town a winner is that it's the sound of a former depressive having something approaching fun. Or maybe that should be having as much fun as can be expected from a Canadian.