Drazy Hoops - This is the Sound Of…..
Record Label: Slow Burn Records
Release Date: April 9, 2013
In most things, brevity is a blessing. In music, more often than not it is underutilized and undervalued. In the case of New York-based singer-songwriter Drazy Hoops, brevity is overemphasized, overvalued and is most assuredly a curse.
For reasons unknown, This is The Sound Of's first six songs are no longer than 3:30. While in many cases this would be a golden ticket, in each song the ephemeral nature limits the impact for something truly tremendous to take place. Album opener "Baby You Gave Me More" is a quintessential saloon song ripe with pedal steel, whiskey-soaked vocals and a defeatist attitude that is tailor made for alt. country utopia. But alas, the song fades out, succumbing to hushed tones before eventually segueing into "I Ain't Never Pressed to Bother."
And it is that song that really confuses everything. A spoken word effort with an off-kilter funk vibe, there's a definite slacker pop element and the song is thick with attitude. But the lo-fi stoner jam ends far too soon and never gets a chance to take off. Ditto to the drunken hum that is "I Am Going to Bring You Together" and the desolate and spartan "Golden Hours." The latter song is slow-moving and serpentine and creeps along in a manner that suggests it is building to a giant climax. But never once does that climax happen. Being that the song posses a sense of tension and despair unlike any of its predecessors means that the song has/had a chance to make a wallop. That it never does is entirely disappointing. The disc's first half closes with "Whip It," a fun little guitar jaunt with a bounce and stride that suggests it should be higher in the tracklisting; and "Chicks in Bars," which in many ways feels like the ending to "Baby You Gave Me More."
The second part of This Is The Sound Of…. opens with "Sick Enough," a lazy, late summer yawn that sways gently with a rhythm and cadence all its own. Clocking in at around four minutes it is one of the album's most complete efforts and the point at which Hoops reveals his true colors. There's glimmers of those colors on the slow-starting but shuffling alt. country effort "And If You Don't Succeed." But Hoops' mumbling and inaudible warble suffocates the song from ever really picking up any momentum. That being written it is certainly stronger than most of its predecessors but still not the kind of song that casts a long-ranging impression.
A lilting lap steel anchors the spartan title track, a dusty effort that much like "Sick Enough" feels ripe for a late summer afternoon. Once again all the hallmarks of Hoops' songwriting are on full display and it is here that the album actually stands as something important and valuable. Of the album's last four, only the desperate "Deep In My Heart," the slow-moving "Fly Little Bird" and the delicate "Oh How It's Good To Be Home" are commendable.
The problem with This is the Sound Of…. is that it suffers from a lack of urgency, tension and believability. Sure these are songs but they feel more like words on a page and less like stories that need to be told. Being that this is Hoops' eighth album, one can understand the need to take such risks, but if the purpose of this editorial is to recommend an album, the simple fact is there are far better ways to spend an hour than This is the Sound Of….