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

Guy Clark: Songs and Stories (Dualtone)

Guy Clark: Songs and Stories (Dualtone)

Although the smart money would have been against his longevity, here is the road-worn troubadour Guy Clark -- 70 in November 2011 -- working his way through exactly what it says on the box, singing... > Read more

The War on Drugs: Wagonwheel Blues (Longtime Listener)

The War on Drugs: Wagonwheel Blues (Longtime Listener)

Some music is purely functional: music in airports; massage music, Kiwi backyard-bbq reggae etc. This one by a US band I know nothing about is driving music -- annoying inner city stop-start or... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

CRAIG MARRINER INTERVIEWED (2001): Coming in from the margins

CRAIG MARRINER INTERVIEWED (2001): Coming in from the margins

There's Led Zeppelin on the jukebox, a few old soaks at the bar, a pool table in the corner and a handle of beer in front of him. Craig Marriner seems right at home in this world as distant from... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: ZZ Top; The Very Best of ZZ Top; Rancho Texicano

THE BARGAIN BUY: ZZ Top; The Very Best of ZZ Top; Rancho Texicano

In a few weeks -- perhaps far too soon for many -- the first 10 ZZ Top albums are being reissued in a box set. That's a whole lotta Top -- perhaps far too much for many -- but, if we might be... > Read more