THE HAZEY JANES - THE WINTER THAT WAS
The Hazey Janes have made quite a name for themselves over their ten-year career. An indie outfit of four from Dundee, Scotland, they have already established themselves as an act worthy of the big-time by supporting bands such as Elbow and Snow Patrol. Listening to their most recent album, it isn’t a wonder as to why they hit the musical jackpot. From the hearty, soulful electric guitars to the endearing Scottish lilt that lead vocalist Andrew Mitchell’s accent entails, the quartet effortlessly wander through ten tracks with sounds reminiscent of the Kings of Leon and fellow Scots, Biffy Clyro.
We are introduced to the album by Cascade River Gardens, a short instrumental that sounds as though its Star Wars inspired. In effect the foreword of the album, the listener is lured into the sound of dreamy electronica and computerised synth, something that wouldn’t sound out of place in the opening credits of a sci-fi blockbuster. From that, we are kicked swiftly back into reality, just in time for a punchy, electric guitar-laden second track called Carmelite, whose vocal screams classic seventies rock mixed with the playful riff style used by many an a-typical indie band, such as the American sensation, Phoenix. This establishes the band as being relevant, relatable and exciting – mixing the old and the new to form a fine example of solid musical talent.
Other tracks to look out for on this album include Girl in the Night, which slides a pleasing bit of techno notation in between the punchy guitar slides and patterns, and rhythmic rock beat of the drums. The female harmony in the vocal is also a sound for sore ears, with angelic frontwoman Alice Marra giving a more feminine side to this macho track. Also Southern Lawns gives us an insight into the band’s versatility, with a vibe of Mystery Jets about the track, and the quirky use of the sound of crackling vinyl in the first five seconds, a track used by such bands as the XX and the Maccabees.
The track is classy and polished, a true statement in terms of the capabilities of the four young musicians. Frankly, the same can be said for the rest of the album in that it is refined, officious and resolutely enjoyable. The track that is perhaps most remarkable is You Only Stand to Lose If I Stay. With it’s haunting, moody undertones and poignant lyrics, it stands completely aside from the rest of the tracks. The use of string instruments has been expertly made, tugging on the listener’s heartstrings as though they were being played by the bows of the violinists themselves.
The Hazey Janes have already been recognised as having huge potential, and this album certainly rings true to that statement. A fusion of acoustic/rock ballads, with the perks of a raw, undiscovered and sometimes peculiar group of performers, The Winter That Never Was is an album of true grit and will be appreciated by fans of rock, indie, alternative, acoustic and pop alike.