Hacienda: Loud is the Night (Alive)

 |   |  1 min read

Hacienda: Hear Me Crying
Hacienda: Loud is the Night (Alive)

About two decades ago when magazines like Rolling Stone or rock weeklies such as Melody Maker were compiling their "best albums of all time" lists the Beatles' Sgt Pepper's and the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds would invariably be juggling for the top spot.

As time went on the baroque-pop of Sgt Pepper's of '67 was replaced by the pre-psychedelic Revolver of '66 (still a critical favourite) but increasingly you can hear the influence of the Beatles' earlier Rubber Soul alongside Pet Sounds in much contemporary pop-rock: it's the spirit of '65-'66 before everything went silly and symphonic and surreally psychedelic.

This album by a four-piece from San Antonio seems to embody exactly that ethos when songs rather concepts were paramount, when a guitar line meant more than a cello part, and when a lick of country-flavoured guitar (the young George Harrison studied Carl Perkins remember) wasn't amiss in a song which had stacked-up vocal harmonies.

In other words, Hacienda make classic pop-rock songs with an ear for a ballad but also the feel for harmony vocals like the Everly Brothers/Beach Boys/Beatles: in fact in Hear Me Crying here they unashamedly reach right back to the late Fifties for some echo guitar, Buddy Holly/Peggy Sue drumming and harmonies.

They aren't afraid to go a little "experimental" (the vocal effects on Officer) or even cover a Sonny Bono song (Baby Don't Go), and they craft a neatly modest ballad from the With the Beatles period too (Leave It This Way).

But mostly what you hear are echoes of Rubber Soul, the Beach Boys before the psychosis took hold, the feel for lightweight power-pop, and a hook that is not only rare but admirable.

Hacienda are also serious (the dramatic and brooding Degree of Murder which has ripples of Bacharach), but I suspect this album will be more appreciated by those who get those references than people of their own age.

Really interesting . . . and a bunch of great songs to boot. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Hallelujah Picassos: Rewind the Hateman (HP/Rhythmethod)

Hallelujah Picassos: Rewind the Hateman (HP/Rhythmethod)

In one of the liner note essays here Ross Cunningham says when he first got a copy of Auckland band Hallelujah Picassos debut album Hateman in Love he kept playing it because "it sounded like... > Read more

Justin Townes Earle: Midnight at the Movies (Bloodshot/Southbound)

Justin Townes Earle: Midnight at the Movies (Bloodshot/Southbound)

Being the son of Steve Earle and named for Townes Van Zant might seem a burden to many (just how many step-mothers do you have? wasn't Townes a troubled man?) but it seems to rest easy enough with... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

SOUNDTRACK FOR A REVOLUTION, a film by  BILL GUTTENTAG and DAN STURMAN, 2009 (Hopscotch DVD)

SOUNDTRACK FOR A REVOLUTION, a film by BILL GUTTENTAG and DAN STURMAN, 2009 (Hopscotch DVD)

Anyone who gets depressed and thinks little social progress has been made need only to look at this ultimately uplifting if sometimes horrifying film to see how far America has come in the past 50... > Read more

Breaux Bridge, Louisiana: In Cajun country

Breaux Bridge, Louisiana: In Cajun country

Norbert shuts off the small outboard and pulls the propeller out of the brackish water. He loosens the weeds which have fouled it and tosses them away. We sit in the silent stillness of Lake Martin... > Read more