Review Summary: "This is not a test. Weather alert. Weather alert."
Outer space is a massive place, at a scale lying beyond the confines of humanity's feeble understanding. Reasonably, it is fair to implore that every possible outcome that COULD happen (past, present or future), will happen somewhere in the universe, in infinite combinations. These combinations are formulaic by nature, and can be represented via probability and the laws of mathematics. However, before my burnt out, pseudo-physics ruin this review, the point that needs to be driven home here is that however unlikely an event is, it CAN and WILL happen somewhere in this massive, incomprehensible multiverse we call home.
HAIR.BLOOD is one of those unlikely events. Despite the odds, the young band has managed to create a truly unique and intrepid adventure into a world entirely of their own making. Weather And I's lo-fi, neo-psychedelia stands as a stark contrast to the increasingly digitalized, watered-down plague of the pretentious modern music industry; and being a debut, the demo's youthful tenacity and unhinged ambition show up not in the notes played, but rather the mosaic of moods it effortlessly passes on to the listener.
The circumstances of this release are as interesting as the music itself, and will be addressed first. HAIR.BLOOD was born of the now defunct Paisley Hayze & The Weathermen Underground after a feud between the lead guitarist and the rest of the group, after which everyone basically kicked everyone out of the band. Shortly thereafter however, the core members of Paisley Hayze re-united and renamed their group, adding a new drummer and vocalist/guitarist to the fold. Having broken up so quickly, there were gigs still booked that now acted as deadlines by which HAIR.BLOOD would have to get some content down. The first show fell on 4/20/13, a hazy deadline indeed. The recording was going at a consistent pace until it was fully realized that the vocals would need to be recorded the afternoon of the show, given the excess amounts of THC and lengthy recording sessions that extended well into the nights prior. The vocals were recorded on time, barely, and the CD's were burnt at the venue, available upon request and each with a different album cover. Yes, HAIR.BLOOD do things a little differently, but the charm, and more importantly, the quality of the music, is clearly unscathed and still fan-f**king-tastic.
If one had to pin down HAIR.BLOOD's sound, it would lie somewhere between Jim Morrison's bad trips, the wandering blues-jams of the Grateful Dead and the whirlwind of kaleidoscopic ecstasy found on 'Floyd's Syd Barrett albums. As a five piece, there are more than enough hands at work to make a seamless and full soundscape, utilizing a bevvy of guitar layers, effects and counterpoint riffing. Although not as sprawling as the well known jam-god's of yesteryear, the very same "live", personal vibe of those legendary late 60's jam-rock albums shows up on numerous occasions throughout. The bass here is impossible to miss as well, and at live shows since has only gotten better and better. Not only do the rumbling four strings of fury lay steady, and often straight funky jams, but its careful attention to tonality only further the soulful nature of the music.
Perhaps the greatest improvement however lies behind the kit. Clearly schooled in jazz, the steady rhythms of the progressive rock universe are consistently bolstered by improvised fills that splash against the wailing guitars like waves to a rocky shore. The vocals are imperfect and generally low key, but in this case such quirks are of ill-concern given their sparcity; not to mention their garage rock persona only adds to the band's humanity, offering up a slice of earthly familiarity amidst the alien landscape. Quintessentially, the tasteful use of synth doesn't add cheese, nor does it flatten the atmosphere; no, because on this wonderfully rare occasion, a synth is witnessed being used effectively. The atmosphere the keys add to is something akin to sitting on the moon, staring at earth, accompanied by machine-elves from the dark side, sipping pina-colada's and wondering how much longer until you're sober (and wondering just what exactly sobriety is).
Yes, Weather And I is no big-budget progressive rock epic, nor is it so loaded in content that one needs months to decipher its ultimate meaning, however what lacks in privilege, it more than makes up for in personality and bravado. The songwriting hits the nail on the head, balancing coordinated progressions and builds with freakishly enjoyable jams that transcend the confines our 4-dimensional reality. Wholly indescribable just as true psychedelic trip should be, Weather And I's mood belies all conventional language, going so far as to blur the lines between positivity and negativity, joy and pain, love and fear. Weather And I's production and execution is completely grounded, playing live just for you from your steree-eree-eo, but never before have I been so perplexed by an apparent paradox of elements, given just how far out of this world the album really is. Just as acid destroyed the consensus reality of the 1960's, Weather And I is redefining all the pre-conceived notions of just how exactly music finds its way through your synapses to your thoughts and emotions.
At only three tracks and not quite 15 minutes long, this is a far cry from a full length, but the small amount of content has only made this reviewer all the more eager to be graced by HAIR.BLOOD's future releases. Any fans of lo-fi rock, psychedelic drugs, Hawaiian shirts, poutine and spacey, atmospheric jams should take immediate notice of this up and coming group.