Being a singer-songwriter is a tough business. True, its never been a better time to pick up a guitar and let the world know how you feel, but on the other hand, there is a plethora of sensitive, six-string slingers out there who are all eager to make it big. Getting lost in the maelstrom of mediocre wannabees is a constant career hazard. Despite this saturation, the solitary artist can often be left to tread a lonely path.
Therefore, it is very refreshing to see in Chris Haze another Irish artist who already seems destined for great things. Some of you may already be familiar with his Thoughts to Words EP and On the Road follows hot on its heels.
As far as the music is concerned, On the Road is not a huge departure from Thoughts to Words. The changes are subtle and ultimately for the better. Haze’s songwriting has improved. The fade outs, a personal bugbear of mine, that plagued Thoughts to Words, have been banished and each song is more complete and satisfying as a result. Thematically, On the Road shares much with Jack Kerouac’s beatnik era odyssey of the same name. Whether intentional or not, there is an added maturity to the lyrics. Haze evokes a feeling of being lost and trying to find himself, not unlike Kerouac and company. Whilst Haze doesn’t delve into the debauched world of sex and drugs, On the Road evokes a similar free spirit to its literary namesake and is the perfect soundtrack to watch the world speed by and to contemplate the complexities of life.
On the Road also boasts much improved production values. The vocals benefit from a heavy dose of reverb and everything just seems to slot into the mix a little bit better. This may cause some disgruntlement among purists who want their singer songwriters rough and authentic but the sound cant be faulted otherwise.
I could continue and dissect each track on this EP but with only three tracks to digest and clocking in at well under fifteen minutes, you owe it to yourself to sample Haze’s latest offering without any preconceived bias. Needless to say, its time well spent ,but the more time pressed amongst you should check out Haze’s, hip hop infused, rapid-fire delivery on the groovy, piano driven Being Me and the dreamy opening guitar riff from the title track.
Roll on the LP!