A couple songs don’t fully engage. But “Paradise” a satisfying follow-up/addition to “Born To Die” — L. Kent Wolgamott
File next to: Adele, Emili Sande.
“I Love Hate You”
Hay is quite literally a one-man band, playing all the instruments on his albums himself and reproducing his music live using live looping and some innovative instruments and equipment he built himself.
The good thing is on his third CD, “I Love Hate You,” Hay sounds like anything but a one-man music machine. Instead, he creates a big bluesy rock sound that has all the muscle and instrumental breadth one would want from an album in this vein.
But for all the technical and instrumental talent it takes for Hay to make his music, “I Love Hate You” proves that Hay’s biggest gift may be his songwriting. There’s stomping blues-rock on the title song and “Don’t Bring Me Down,” driving rock on “Good Times” and some thumping mountain soul on “Narrow Mind.” The frenetic and fun “Blues Train” evokes thoughts of “Dueling Banjos” crossed with punky speed metal. Another highlight is the album’s biggest musical departure, the epic “Close,” which starts in a fragile acoustic setting before opening up to a lovely spacious mid-tempo rock crescendo.
On this song, Hay shifts from his usually gritty vocals (think Chris Cornell of Soundgarden with a bit less range and power) to a higher pitch that at times evokes the late Jeff Buckley.
The musical range Hay finds within his rootsy sound on “I Love Hate You” is as impressive as the songs themselves.
As songwriter/musician/producer, Hay is a true triple-threat talent — and an artist that deserves to find an audience as large as his musical gifts. — Alan Sculley