By now, High Hazels probably don’t need any more introduction. We have been following the Sheffield quartet’s every move since they first sent us their debut single Hearts Are Breaking about half a year ago. Drawing on a love and appreciation for the timeless charms of Britain’s great northern songwriters & poets, they immediately caught our attention.
If you loved High Hazels’ debut single Hearts Are Breaking then you will definitely enjoy the debut EP In The Half Light. The EP consists of four songs and was released on April 7th via Heist or Hit Records (I Am Oak, Skint & Demoralised). To celebrate the EP’s release, they have also taken some time to answer a few questions which you can read about here.
Listening to the closing notes of Hearts Are Breaking, the EPs first track French Rue perfectly continues the sound the band first brought to us half a year ago. The three remaining tracks on the EP are similar but still not the same.
When I listened to the EP, I couldn’t help but think of a cheesy high school movie set in a dreamy romanticized version of the 50s or 60s and High Hazels are the prom band. Disco balls and young lovers dancing come to mind. Winter Song with its weeping vocals sung by James Leesley, and especially Loose Stitches, the final track on the EP, would work perfectly in a cheek to cheek dance scene or as a soundtrack to the BBC series Call the Midwife.
In a way, their sound is nostalgic and their songs would best be played on vinyl and kept among your grandparents’ collection. Still, High Hazels aren’t old-fashioned nor do they sound outdated. High Hazels create a timeless sound which is inconspicuous and simple as it is reduced to the three basic instruments of a pop rock band; guitar, bass and drums.
The media has likened their sound to that of The Smiths which was also my immediate reaction when I first listened to Hearts Are Breaking, their 2013 debut single which isn’t on the EP. While that was true for the single, In The Half Light hardly brings The Smiths to mind and it becomes evident that High Hazels aren’t just imitating another band’s style. If I really had to compare their sound to other bands it would along the lines of The Coral or Frankie and the Heartstrings.
My favourite song on the EP, which is clearly a standout track, is the latest single Summer Rain due to its catchy guitar riffs and the bittersweet lyrics.
With their 15 minutes running time debut EP High Hazels have done everything absolutely right and I am hoping to hear more from this band very soon. Maybe a full length and a headline tour? For now, go catch them live on tour with The Crookes.
Tour dates w/The Crookes: