How do they do it? These sad sack, broody troubadours somehow manage to plant a subtle hook into their otherwise melancholic melodies that keeps you coming back for more. Toronto’s Hayden and San Diego’s Greg Laswell have gravelly delivery and a general air of somber introspection surrounding their particular brand of broody poprock.
Having said that, Hayden would be hilarious if he wasn’t so morose. With song titles like “Lonely Security Guard,” Weight of the World,” and “Blurry Nights” he manages to make Morrissey seem cheerful. Some songs are mini-sketches – both “Hollywood Ending” and “Lonely Security Guard” are vignettes performed with cinematic feeling, while others – “No Happy Birthday,” “Home by Saturday,” “Weight of the World” – just channel a sordid sounding sadness. This is not a criticism. I’m totally for sordid sounding sadness sometimes. Others step out of type with a more upbeat sound, if not sentiment. I love the simple piano riff that propels “Damn This Feeling” or distinctive guitar lines that undergird “The Place Where We Lived” and the majestic “Blurry Nights,” a track with ‘hit single’ written all over it. Hayden is currently touring behind a 20th anniversary edition of his first indie cassette tape release Everything I Long For. Hollywood EndingWeight of the WorldDamn This Feeling
Greg Laswell’s early material hardly qualifies as broody at all, just a touch here and there. “That it Moves” and “The One I Love” from 2008’s Three Flights from Alto Nido are hooky with just a hint of darkness. “That it Moves” has a great build up, plateauing into a solid poprock gem. “The One I Love” kicks off cheerily enough then gets its brood on in the chorus. But this year’s Everyone Thinks I Dodged a Bullet is full-on Hayden, including extra gravel in the vocals and some moody electric guitar lines on the catchy title track.
That it MovesThe One I Love