January 13, 2010

(re)Discovering The Haywains

The Haywains have been around for eons as far as music time goes. Their first recordings were in the late 80s and that was quickly followed by an LP in 1991. Yet, here we are nearly 20 years later and I'm just discovering the band. Not that I hadn't heard of them, and in fact had listened to some of their tracks a few years back. But it didn't strike a chord with me then, as it has now.

I don't know why. The Haywains were fantastic. Recently, I've fallen in love with their third and final LP Desperately Seeking Something. All of their albums were infused with the band's typically catchy pop hooks and clever plays on retro sounds. One of the best was "Kill Karaoke" from their debut album.

But for my money it was Desperately Seeking Something where they really seem to have come into their own. That release combined their youthful vigor and attitude with more mature writing and arrangements, and a certain experience that can only come to those who've been there and done that. The title track is a wonderful example with it's buzzing guitars, it brought to mind some forerunners of the Britpop sound like The Wonderstuff and James, combined with a sort of sixties psych sound that was rather populuar during the 90s. "Bye Bye Boyfriend" is another pop gem that nterestingly has riffs in it are nearly identical to the title track, if in a different key. Even more intersting brings together the male/female vocals in a chorus that in a weird way sounds not unlike Madness's "Bed & Breakfast Man". One of the other songs that really jumped out to me from that disk was "Jerk", which is a kind of twee pop song with a simple arrangement, but one that works in an almost inexplicable way.

If you haven't discovered The Haywains, or if like me you've simply overlooked them for your own inexplicable reason, then now's the time to remedy that.

The Haywains -- Jerk

The Haywains -- Bye Bye Boyfriend

The Haywains -- Desperately Seeking Something