MP3 Paul Hayes - Vol. 1: Love and Pain and The Whole Damn´ Thing
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The songs give a retro nod to late Beatles, early Bowie and even Richard Thompson; the guitars, however, screech and jangle like classic Crazy Horse or Televisio
12 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Modern Rock, FOLK: Power-folk
Vol. 1: Love and Pain and The Whole Damn' Thing.
The liner notes they didn't include with the album.
By Snake Lally.
On his debut album, Paul Hayes likes to mix acoustic guitars, fiddles and well-crafted melodies with feedback, noise and full-on guitar filth. Mostly in the same song.
It's no mean feat. The New Orleans based songwriter has succeeded in putting together a distinctive album of folky, dark powerpop. Yes, I said dark powerpop. His bio describes it jokingly as "gothabilly", but that doesn't even come close.
You can tell something is a little off from the git go. The album packaging features a selection of evil clowns as in Stephen King's "It", or the demon in "Spawn". But more of that later...
The music mines a host of 70's and early 80's styles, from a simple folk song, like "Rake", to the Ramones pastiche "Louise Brooks" ...But the biggest unifying factor is the use of wry and sometimes twisted lyrics.
It's easy to imagine that Hayes lives in a strange and dangerous place, at least in his own mind. He describes "The Back of Town" where, among other horrors, 'the circus clowns are psychopaths" and 'love is a transaction with a cripple in the darkness". Not your typical powerpop.
"Hatchet Man" is an apologia for the guy you hire to do your dirty work. He struggles daily with all of the nasty little tasks you'd rather keep secret - and he enjoys it.
All performed to a soundtrack that mixes equal parts Neil Young's "Powderfinger", with the Beatles.
Most of the tracks on "Love and Pain, etc." are recognizable songs of love lost or love won. The vocals are suitably subdued and indie. What separates it from the post-emo crowd is Hayes' ability to sound romantic, while avoiding sentimentality. He tells his "Bourgeois Girl" she is "pleasantly corrupt" ... and he makes it sound like it's a good thing...
He tells his sweetheart in the title track: "I never said I couldn't stand you, I just couldn't understand you." Later on, he admits:"When you were good, you were very proficient, and when you were bad you were better."
Mostly, the songs engage you by subverting your expectations. So, in "Louise Brooks", he picks up a goth girl in a sleazy barroom encounter, and glorifies the occasion as an anthem for femmes fatales everywhere.
In "Walk Hand in Hand in the Morning", a young couple walks thru a grimy city at dawn. The queasy strings perfectly capture that particular early morning euphoria before the onset of a hangover.
It's easy to play Spot the Influence. Underneath the Modern Rock veneer, ironic references to the sounds of the 70's abound. Time and again, the lead guitars pay tribute to Neil Young, often in unlikely places. The folky "Changeling Bride" is somehow mediated by loud electric guitars and Velvet Underground feedback squeals.
"Lipstick Candy Apple Red" grinds away like a warped Clash doing "Brand New Cadillac", but the song tells the (unlikely) story of a female car thief on a crash course with fate.
Also included are two unannounced hidden tracks at the end. One is an untitled track possibly called "You think you're clever". The other is a truly outstanding slow version of the song "Chainsmoker", which also appears earlier on the album in powerpop form. The slow version is intimate, torchy and spooky in a 4am sort of way. Like a David Lynch soundtrack.
Paul Hayes' reply to liner notes:
Many thanks to Snake for lending a dedicated ear, even though I disagreed with most of what he said.
1)Snake is the self-styled president of the Paul Hayes Fan Club. As far as I know the only other current member is Miss Louann, Snake's long-suffering old lady.
2)As for the 70's and 80's thing, I rarely listen to music anymore, except my own. I'd rather read a good book. Jorge Luis Borges at the moment.
3) I wouldn't disagree with the remarks re: the clowns; Crazy Horse; the V.U.; David Lynch.
Paul Hayes Bio.
Paul Hayes was born in Ireland and currently lives in the USA. After years of wasteful self-indulgence, he finally released his debut album at the end of 2003.
He resides in New Orleans, LA, with his twin American bull-terriers, Pirandello and Ionesco.
Bass player John Trahey is originally from Chicago and resides in Kenner, LA. In his spare time he cooks a mean barbecue. A rabid rockabilly fan, his mind resides in the 1950s
Drummer Matt Swiler is a native of Gretna, LA. His other job is renowned cajun band Charivari. He has all his own teeth.
Multi-instrumentalist Tom Marron hails from Champaign, Illinois, and lives in New Orleans, LA. He has survived playing with Mr. Hayes for several years.
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