Song writing has evolved over time, resulting in a number of alternative acts being obsessed with the witty or acerbic. The charm behind Chicago based Liam Hayes long player, Slurrup, is that is harks back to a time when lyrics where more accessible, and took the listener on a pop music journey. But despite this reminding one of the a number of ’60s psychedelic and beat acts, it is in no way a revivalist rehash of years gone by, and sits well with his contemporary singer songwriters.
In fact, Hayes is clearly a very impressive and multi faceted musician, with some very technical chord changes and arrangements demonstrating his love for music and passion in hearing it done well. The album starts with ‘One Way Out’ which features an impossibly catchy drum beat and paves the way for some well thought through and intelligent compositions. Its late mid/late ’60s lineage is never clearer than on ‘Get It Right’, when Hayes shows that one can draw influence without being pastiche, in the same way that Richard Hawley also does so well.
‘Fokus’ is the earworm that burrows deep and was a track that featured on the equally interesting and technically proficient score to A Glimpse Inside The Mind Of Charles Swan, which Hayes released in 2013. ‘Greenfield’ changes the pace and has some swooning melodies accompanying another intriguing set of lyrics.
After ‘Channel 44’ and its bizarre and unnecessary interlude we get back to the high tempo ‘Outhouse’, demonstrating for the umpteenth time on this record that its perfectly fine to write memorable three minute pop songs – and Slurrup is a neat collection of absorbing and comforting tracks.
Liam Hayes has been around for nearly 20 years but probably not recognised by many, this record may just change that and it is a bright, dreamy and abstract start to 2015. Long may it continue.
Slurrup is released on 13th January via Fat Possum Records.
James Van Praag