Dave Hause “Drive It Like It’s Stolen”

Blood Harmony Records, 2023

The emotional depth of the songs shines on the quieter songs but vanishes behind bluster a bit too often.

Dave Hause calls his music “post-apocalyptic Americana.” On opening song, ‘Cheap Seats (New Years Day, NYC, 2042)’ this means starting with a gentle drum machine beat that explodes into life for the last verse. There is an urgency to his singing on ‘Pedal Down’ which builds more slowly over synth and trumpet lines. There is a touch of the emotional depth of the Delines on this piece.

Damn Personal’ keeps the urgency but substitutes bluster for emotion. ‘Low’ has an early Springsteen opening complete with Xylophone, but again the music doesn’t entirely live up to the promise of the words. Hause’s writing is never less than sterling. The songs are clearly meant to be “anthemic” but a more delicate approach to them might have highlighted the lyrics more effectively in places.

It’s when the music calms down a bit, as on ‘chainsaweyes,’ with its cello and other strings that the real quality of Hause’s writing and singing have the chance to shine. He is an emotive singer, and the insightful lyrics deserve the chance to rise above the guitars and drums. ‘Drive It Like It’s Stolen’ is the best song here. An insistent beat and guitars with the distortion turned down and the chorus up bring the delicacy that his songs need. The acoustic ‘lashingout’ runs it close. The brief honky tonk piano at the end changes the mood with the words very effectively.

Tarnish’ is another quieter song and all the better for it. Listen to the lyrics to find why the press says that “his songs have always detailed his own personal traumas and triumphs within the setting of an unforgiving capitalist backdrop.” ‘The Vulture’ brings back the bigger drumbeats but keeps the acoustic guitars. There is an unmistakable “blue collar rock” sound to this, and it points to what the more frenetic songs earlier in the album could have been with a firmer hand on the production.

Listening through the album several times finds the little touches of sounds and words creeping out to make you back the song up and play it again. The second half of the album is way better than the first half. A more acoustic feel suits the songs, although it’s easy to see why Hause wants to bring the big production to some of the angrier themes. Overall, it’s an album to persevere with and allow his writing to work its charms on you.

7/10
7/10

About Tim Martin 247 Articles
Sat in my shed listening to music, and writing about some of it. Occasionally allowed out to attend gigs.
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