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Friday, April 13, 2012

Charles Hayward One Big Atom

Charles Hayward
One Big Atom

Any album by ex-This Heat member Charles Hayward is always an intriguing journey. Never quite sure where it’s heading, when the company is witty and engaging, you really don’t mind. As the title and cover suggests, he’s exploring cause and effect and the extent to which everything is connected. Gallows humour and smart social commentary collide in the brooding jeremiad, In Times Like These, as he lays out what happens when the greater good is sacrificed on the altar of individuality.

Inter-connectedness also manifests itself through a series of fast-moving brittle sonic fragments, darting right to left like a kind of audio buckshot. These hard-panned particles form into cameo-like self-referential suites of recurring cut-ups, crackles, static chords, growling bass tones and machine-like rasps and gasps.

It’s as though the dizzying array are the result of some steampunk lash-up prone to drift and interference. During Spinning on an Atom his vocals sound as though they were recorded as someone busily hoovers around him.

The charming melancholia of Hayward’s songwriting always makes an ideal accompaniment to his feverish drumming, which combines stoic time-keeping and extravagant flourishes to brilliant and unpredictable effect.

It’s all rather manic but it commands your attention from beginning to end.

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