Limelight Cordial . Hassle Hound
2006. cd . dl . lp
Hassle Hound are a benign tornado, roaring and twisting through the best and most eclectic of record collections, ripping out and tearing off ideas and samples. They plunder for a reason – to make fragile and lovely music, often charmingly odd but with a gleeful melancholy, off-kilter but on the ball. There is a childlike quality to their music, but the child in question must be a musical prodigy with a wry sense of humour and a maturity beyond his years.
They are not afraid to be beautiful. Machines and beats are caressed into soft humanity by delicate vocals, the boisterous cuddle of eccentrically played instruments and ingenious guitar patterns. Here are wistful love songs which also sound like the greatest James Bond theme ever (if those films had ever been made by a 60's new wave Czech director). Cartoon oneirics slapstick their way across lush countryside and toddle through town, favourite-uncle drunk and beaming expansively.
Trying to pin them down is like drinking beer with a fork. They coin new genres like other bands do sound checks – too much funky not enough, crofter dub, genial noise, surf and turf guitar, carousel gothic, collagetronica. If Harry Partch had made music for ice-cream vans it might have been like some of these affable inventions.
The band is comprised of three core members: Tony Swain (Glasgow), Mark Vernon (Glasgow) and Ela Orleans (New York). Each of them are also involved in their own side projects:
Ela Orleans has just had her second solo LP released on 'La Station Radar' to critical acclaim.
Mark Vernon is one half of sample hungry double act Vernon & Burns who have a new LP on Felix Kubin's Gagarin Records (http://www.myspace.com/vernonandburns).
Tony Swain is currently recording material for his debut solo album on the Shadazz label.
"These folks delight in genre defying. Their extensive use of odd samples recalls People Like Us, musically they resemble a whimsical jazz band playing toy instruments, Young Marble Giants demos, or Cale era Velvets in a mellow mood. Bright, colorful, upbeat with stoned candy puzzles, and collaged delights in the corners..."