EP  REVIEWS



Hayden Calnin Guitar With Water

Ayfer Simms, on fine lyrical and literary form, loses herself in the latest EPs from Australia’s answer to Bon Ivor (so we’re told), Hayden Calnin, and the closer to home, troubadours, Provincials.


Hayden Calnin  ‘Oh, Hunter EP’  1st December 2014


Where we ought to be is entangled inside Hayden’s throat, twisted in a state of mist, buried in the vocal cords where beauty corrupts the sound: The atmosphere is of an obscure and mysterious world, and outside of that cozy and torturous spot there is the rest of the music, drifting steadily as if coming out of a mortal made of steel: From its open mouth, it blows the traces of the milky way, frozen in its strides.

Smooth, cold and cryptic. The EP is on time for the winter’s dark days, bathing in a wintery trance inducing music. The lyrics, phrase by phrase roll inside the mind with a life of their own:

“Look at the dirt in my toes and tell that I am less of a man for leaving you”

Should one leave the sparkles behind? Reach a better destiny than a shooting star?

“I, I get old
Mystery, honestly just go
I can’t handle anymore”

The sound, a somber lake, the wake of a coma state, is this the way out of drugs and addiction? Mystery, a farewell to the state of euphoria? Mystery, a state of perfect consciousness? Repetition, trance, piano, double vocals echoing each other, building up, I Forever Traveller, I, you and me, swimming in nefarious waters; filled with evil mermaids? Disguised as brides with sparkling scales: she will kill you and me, the wolf with the glance of a man with impeccable stature, will stay high above the cliffs, watching. Hayden Calnin.

“Mystery, show me the way
to a happy place.”

Hayden puts a great distance between himself and the rest of us, there’s a haze: on a stiff cold dawn, like particles of snow extending on a vast land of ice, the sound resounds over an army of nonchalance. He is immersed in a vastness with a few instruments that floats in the air carrying a touch of an alien beauty.

Hayden with a warm grinding in the larynx, is the passage of the artificial intelligence into the human mind: the music combined with the man’s distinctive, and yes, flirtatious voice, takes the shape of a creature, half machine, half human. Beauty, corrupts, us.




Provincials   ‘When The light Changes EP’   (Itchen Recordings)   17th November 2014


‘The provincials or the gospel of things of the winter.’

Moon dusk; a sound lies on a frozen ocean bank: The Provincials’ are swiping the bottom of the water with a blue, soft skin to unearth the secret of wintery things.

Polly Perry’s voice breaks the ice with the grace of an elf, gentle beast of the wild and beauty mingles with an eerie force, becoming something of an angel.

The curtains made of snow unveil an atmosphere of old and new affairs, wishes and hopes, memories and emotional pangs.

The sound of the EP is as shiny as crystalline icicles breaking out under a darkening moon; the light changes, life deepens itself into the cosmos, leaving the owl, the wolves, the glittering red eyes, and the snowy creatures glancing discreetly over a shadowy frame: It is us, feeling naked and floating, lulled by a voice both fragile and giving.

With the track ’12 Days’, a voice, a woman, another voice, a man, echoing each other in a quarrel reverberate the warm Latino guitar chords in an exchange of letters; too much love and pain, a scene from a book; there we are charmed by the song of love and sorrow.

All along, winter escapes from the tracks, they crack as if frozen and crushed by the air; pale and translucent, cold and warm at the same time.

They are glowing fossils of the oceans emitting a voice:  It is whispering to us, all the way from the northern seas while life changes form, black stars echoes in the darkness, and the heart itself mingles with all things. The images are taken from the elements. The EP is a voyage on route for Christmas, in the red sack there’s a violin, a piano, a guitar, the sound of a siren in the distance, a wind catcher caught in a wave, fairy tales of the mountains and the Forrest. We are beneath the frozen ice, we are above the sycamores’ unvisited heights.

The cover of Big Star’s ‘Jesus Christ’ lifts our mood; all is not lost in the frost as beautiful as it may be, we receive a pinch of the Christmas merry!




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