Its not been too long since Fay Hallam had a new record on the store shelf. Last years Corona was a sublime release that captured the mood of a Riviera getaway. Lovely Bossa Nova rhythms and torch songs on that LP are a great introduction for anyone not familiar with her work. Whether that be with The Bongolian a few years back or with Making Time all those years ago and the many incarnations she has had between, you really should check out her back catalogue and witness how she has evolved over the years. Personally I was dancing to a different drum for many years so she had moved from centre stage in my musical world, and that was not due to the quality of her output, far from it - as I listen to her it strikes me that she has been continuously flexing her artistic muscles and reaching towards new and different heights - she was on the journey whereas I was stagnating somewhat.
As I say over the past year or so I have been listening to more of her stuff and actually enjoying it for what it is .... pure and simply, good music. If you are one of those guys who qualifies whether to listen/purchase something with "is it Mod music?" well then I guess this LP may not be for you. Sure there are a clutch of tracks that you could take in isolation and get nods of approval from the High Priest of Mod Cool ( Peg is an out and out organ groover that would not be out of place down your local mod club) but my take is that this is one of those LP's that needs to be listened to in totality with a degree of awareness rather than just wall paper soundtrack. There are some classic moments here that anyone would be glad to have in their canon - Colours is a contender for my favourite tune of the year - a rich, swirly, age of Aquarius hazy mid seventies introspection. Do you know how to love me is an up tempo, steeped in soul, stomper - maybe not northern but certainly blue eyed and with an awareness of classic soul. 'I can hear you' is a reflection on changing times and changing people. 'His Name is King' will be familiar to anyone who has seen the movie Django Unchained, Hallams vocal delivery totally nails this dramatic ode to the Anti-hero. I could write something about all the tracks here but I think I should leave some little surprises for you to discover and make your own mind up on
Maybe its the fact that Andy Lewis is at the console on this one but I get the feeling that there is a more relaxed tho still businesslike approach to the affair. There's still that love of soul and funk underscoring everything and its been reinforced with a lushness and depth in the production, without being over produced, that makes this one an easy listen without being easy listening.
House of Now is released 14th Oct 2016 on the Well Suspect Label. An essential release for Q4 of 2016