Something Like Happiness
Musical duos have made Canada proud over the years, from folk legends Ian & Sylvia, to the songwriting partnership of Blue Rodeo's Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor. Toronto's The Complements are yet another. Comprised of vocalist Nurit Suzana and vocalist/songwriter/guitarist Kevin Zarnett, the pair's five-song EP, 'Something Like Happiness,' is a rootsy pop offering ranging from the lead track, 'Sweet Sorrow,' through to the closer, 'Beautiful Mistake.' Produced by Gregg Lawless and mixed by Scott Lake, the recording also features the talents of drummer Mark Kelso (Pete Townsend, Shania Twain), bassist John Dymond (k.d. lang, Bruce Cockburn), and keyboardist Steve Klodt (Amanda Marshall, Jeff Healey). While Nurit has co-written with Kevin, the songs on The Complements' debut CD are all Kevin's, some in collaboration with Gregg and musician Dave Taylor. 'There's a perspective in the lyric that isn't black and white or good versus bad, it's really just grey areas,' Kevin says of his way with words. 'The choices that you encounter aren't an easy choice verses a bad choice; it's always something in between. There's a trade off. And that's the bitter-sweet aspect of my songwriting.' For Kevin, he was fully intent on pursuing a solo career, when, in 2002, he was introduced to Nurit at Dave Taylor's place. As fate or serendipity would have it, turned out Kevin and Nurit had attended the same high school; she had been friends with his sister, and he had shared classes with her brother. 'We found that there was more of a history than we had known and we had a lot in common musically,' Kevin says. 'We like a lot of the folk singer-songwriter stuff, but we also like The Cure and Otis Redding, a wide range beyond the kind of music that we're playing.' On the first track, 'Sweet Sorrow,' the lyric works better with Kevin's rough-hewn vocal stylings handling the lead. The pop song is about the end of a relationship, in which the upshot is that he at least felt something, so all is not lost. In the sprightly 'Something Like Happiness,' (sung by Nurit) Kevin refers to the lyric as a 'coping mechanism' resulting from 'Sweet Sorrow,' trying to go on with your life, 'knowing that things aren't like they used to be but trying to make the best out of it,' he says. The rootsy 'Just Another Sad Song,' featuring Kevin and with Nurit doing the harmonies, the lyrics admit defeat in trying to rise above the break-up. 'It's actually a little bit more difficult,' Kevin says. 'You're thinking about what happened and what you're missing.' The minstrelsy 'Valley Green,' which evokes a bygone era, reflects on how society is constructed to leave little free time for one's true pleasures and loves. Adds Nurit, 'I was really touched after hearing it for the first time. I remember saying it was brilliant.' The final track, 'Beautiful Mistake,' takes a bold step of going for it, and not worrying about the consequences. Kevin and Nurit don't plan on touring with a full band, except for special occasions. They prefer to keep it sparse and intimate, to showcase Nurit's bright, warm, and emotive voice and Kevin's more gritty one - one complementing the other.