On 19th August 2004 at 10:06 Anonymous 251 wrote...
Sam - you will like this!
By Hayley Hutchinson
York's Hayley Hutchinson has set up her own label, HayLo Media, to release this debut album of country tinged acoustic tunes. It's packaged in a nice jewel case with a glossy inlay booklet, looking every bit the professional article. Produced by ex-Shed Seven member Fraser Smith, who also supplies his skills on organ and piano, it's a polished piece of work indeed. So ten out of ten so far for style but what about the tunes?
Opening with 'Deadman' there's a touch of Sheryl Crow about the sound, a bright pop sound with a nice slide guitar. Hand claps and percussion ride along as the spiky guitar line jitters and jigs along. Hutchinson has a versatile voice, it's smooth and rich but carries a fragility that adds variation between songs. She manages to retain an individuality whilst evoking thoughts of Nanci Griffith and Jewel at difering points. 'Minor Key' skips along with a neat little guitar line whilst Hutchinson carries a neat litte vocal melody to some interesting places, avoiding the obvious and flexing her muscle, stepping up to falsetto when required. A common theme throughout the album is that backing vocals are plentiful and used cleverly to fill out the sound.
'I Have To Say I Love You' provides a slightly darker counterpoint whilst the Jewel comparisons come strongly from the floaty beauty of 'Fall Down'. It's just one of those songs that is constructed perfectly and the long vocal notes evoke a natural vibrato from Hutchinson's voice that add an extra quality to proceedings. Another ex-Shed Seven man crashes the party on 'Here's The Love' as Alan Leach provides drums on another of the more poppy numbers here. 'Hands' is another little beauty of a song, stepping down the tempo with its gentle guitar and another outstanding vocal. It's a great melody, but it's delivered with a performance that truly does it justice.
There's a good variety in pace and melody within this album although there are certain tracks that poke their heads out a lot higher than some others. Hayley Hutchinson has managed to acquire some strong support but has used it is backup rather than a crutch to lean on. Sticking her neck out on the line (and possibly a fair amount of cash one would suspect) she's certainly delivered a quality product. There are certain to be many who agree and she should reap the rewards.