Bob Wiseman' eccentricities and experimental tendencies may lack mainstream acceptance. Yet, it' that very reason why the former member of Blue Rodeo has developed such a strong and passionate cult following. With Theme and Variations, Wiseman' latest quirky solo outing, the arrangements are stripped bare, letting the subversive themes of pain, loneliness and heartache come to the surface. Songs like "Who am I?" and "Dead Inside," (the former subsequently released as a single, featured indie queen Feist in the video), employ this approach using minimalist instrumentation to convey grand sentiment. "Passion Flowers" and "The Henry Moore Room," equally add to the melancholy, while "Three Men" offers up some cheerful refuge, being a humorous narrative of a love rectangle between a woman and three oblivious male suitors, who unknowingly are all simultaneously dating the same girl. Honestly direct and intensely intimate, Wiseman finally offers up a solo album that plays up his strengths reminding longtime fans the reason why they became fans in the first place.