11 Dec 2014
Album Review: My Drunken Haze "My Drunken Haze"
Reviewed by Nathan Ford
I first became aware of Athens based quintet My Drunken Haze by sharing a mutual obsession for the music of Broadcast with MDH guitarist Spir Frelini. Their debut E.P "Pleasing Illusions" (great as it was) was very much in thrall to this influence, but this debut full length is a much more wide ranging and sprawling affair. Fully assimilating, rather than shrugging off their influences, it's fitting that this release is self titled as it represents the first time that they sound fully confident in their own identity, making this something of a definitive statement.
It's a concept album of sorts, a coming of age story about a woman ‘in search of love, longing, separation and redemption, (set) against a backdrop of daydreaming, drugs and the hot sand of a summer beach.’ Matina Sous Peau provides this character's voice, and her pipes sound even better than they did on the "Pleasing Illusions" E.P, conjuring up a hazy, dream-pop vibe that more often than not takes centre stage. This, in itself, is an impressive feat, because her bandmates are pulling some pretty attention-grabbing moves of their own. There are still plentiful hints of that Broadcast vibe, but the band here stretch out into areas that get downright proggy in places, as well as instrumental parts that bring to mind the retro-indie of the War on Drugs and Real Estate, and more esoteric sections that recall The United States of America. And they do this while ensuring that each song has at least one inescapable hook - and often many more.
After a slow start, things build up a really great head of steam by the third track "Yellow Balloon", never dropping the ball from that point onwards. The band seem to realize that this is a strong starting point too, as their Bandcamp stream starts at this point, rather than the beginning. The concept album approach is given just the right weighting too. If you want to follow the storyline it's there, but it never dominates. It's an album that works superbly as a singular entity, but functions excellently on a track by track basis as well.
A very strong dream-pop / psychedelic pop release that manages to pull a bunch of vintage strings, without losing the contemporary edge that will make it appeal to a modern alternative audience.
LP with free CD, digital download, and full stream available here.