The Ballad of Sanaleigh – Tash Hagz (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

What if the intricacy and grandeur of progressive rock could be captured in a more manageable song length? What if the psychedelic vibe could be corralled into a more focused and melodic sound? What if the Summer of Love vibe could be remade for the modern age? What if folk-rock could be more than a wishy-washy middle ground? What if pop could be both big and clever?

All very pertinent questions. And all answered by this latest cracker of a song from Tash Hagz. Now, I’m sure that he didn’t set out to do anything as pretentious as write music that answered such academic questions, I’m sure that he set out to write a good song, and he has, actually, make that a great song, but the fact that it does tick so many boxes shows you just what a deft writer Tash Hagz is.

There is also something of the Nick Cave apocalyptic ballad beating at its heart, not as doom-ladened and demonic perhaps, not as bruised and bleak, but sharing the same lilting sonic qualities, the same understated darkness, the same soothing sensations and eldritch strangeness. And that has got to be good, right? Right!

It comes on like a gentle folk gem, slowly wrapping itself in subtle acoustics, meandering bass lines and simple beats. And slowly and almost imperceptibly it grows in intensity, adding sonic shards and musical motifs, growing in stature and weight, getting broader, deeper, richer as it evolves. And then it throws a sonic spanner in the works…a fantastic one, and heads off down proggy pathways, and alt-rock venues. But not for long, just enough to raise a few eyebrows and change the landscape of the song before behaving itself and plotting a course to get itself back on track. And once there it sets about getting the job done and crosses the line in fine style.

It’s a smart song, a very smart song indeed. Melodic and infectious enough to get the more discerning pop-pickers excited. Intriguing and authentic enough to stir up the folk set. Ornate and unsecondguessable (that’s a word right?) enough to keep the proggers happy, and laced with enough 60’s flair and acid haze that the retro-rockers are going to sign up straight away.

And yet, with all of those touchstones, all those references, all of those elements and attractions, it sounds like little you have heard before, too “other” to be part of today’s musical landscape, too boundless in its scope to be a blast from the past. And so there it sits, out of time, out of genre and out to make your head spin.

And that is what Tash Hagz excels at and as the tracks keep being released, the sonic ante keeps being up-ed, the creative benchmark is constantly being raised. It makes you immediately impatient for what is going to come from his pen next!

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: