The unique and bluesrock-funky Claude Hay is back and still the guy who brings DIY to a whole new level. Not content to have made his prime double-neck axe 'Betty' out of a kitchen bench top, he's now also crafted 'Stella' into being, a cigar box gee-tar that used to be a $6 baking tin. Of course, he strums both in the dome-house studio he built with his own two hands from the ground up; in fact every instrument here was played and set down in sonic imprint by Hay save for 4 sit-ins in 3 songs. The recording and mastering were done at various locales in Australia and the US, but the lion's share of everything in I Love Hate You is pure Hay, and the catchy title reflects a compendium of irritations the guy can too easily locate in the world, a vexation and celerity that the more intelligent among us readily share.
Things get more and more spirited as they progress once the disc opens up and disgorges its often Jurassic stomp, but, amid it all, occurring smack dab in the middle of the CD, the cut Close is a striking ballad, a substitution of Hay's voice as the main axe, replacing the guitar in both keening pitch and plaintive wail. The song is highly atypical and very affecting, mindful of much of Sipo's vocalistics in the landmark (but, um, still obscure, dammit!) Year of the White Rose (here). Like Rose, about halfway through, Hays' tune suddenly breaks into a semi-orchestral chunk of progressive psychedelia. Much of the LP, however, is that roothog 'n slide fare which came through so appealingly last time around (here), some of it hi-energy (esp. Blues Train, a song that'll put the gallop in yer giddy-up), other sections fat and greasy.
One can't help but picture Claude Hay as a Huckleberry Finn, a disheveled anarchistic contrarian who pokes holes in convention while reducing it to a throbbing essence. Had matters been a trifle more protean, he might even have been an Opie Taylor who'd joined an AC/DC type outfit and set to hacking away at the provincial mores he'd been raised under, digging through to their neo-aboriginal essence. Catch the Kottke-esque do of The Beatles' Come Together for an example: a little more gut level and it'd be Helter Skelter. Claude definitely totes bushels of passion 'neath that rustic exterior, and this latest CD is not only a great follow-on to his last but also the indicator that at some point, he's going to land on a sound that will explode.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles