‘Days Of No One’ is as haunting as the title suggests. Every aspect of the song combines to create a sound that is striking. From the slide guitar intro to the drawn-out chords of the organ hanging above the vocals, adding a sense of eeriness to the second verse; the song is a living, breathing entity. Intensity builds up over the song’s duration, twitching and pulsing slowly, gaining energy like a lizard warming its cold blood on a hot desert rock.
Shoegaze isn’t dead. It’s alive and well, and High Hazels is evidence that there’s still a passion for the genre. Singer James Leesley admits that loneliness is a recurring theme in the band’s music and there is a sense of that in his lyrics. Hence it’s no surprise to hear that the philosophical themes of Yorkshire poet Simon Armitage and writers like Larkin and Hemingway find their way into the song. However, one downside is the lyrics are sometimes washed out by the instrumental arrangement around them. Because of this, the words lose some impact. However, it’s a small gripe.
The band has a penchant for vintage and weird instruments. Something that was encouraged by producer Matt Peel at The Nave in Leeds where the song was recorded. Peel’s methods were detrimental in shaping the song, therefore allowing the band to experiment with unusual chord lengths and sounds; the experiments paid off.
‘Days Of No One’ is a great example of the band’s raw talent. If this is the sort of song they are writing this early in their career, then what will High Hazels do tomorrow? It’ll be worth seeing them live, because if the band can recreate the haunting loneliness on stage then they’ll be the complete package.
April 27th – Jimmy’s, Manchester:
May 2nd Sebright Arms, London:
May 4th Leadmill, Sheffield:
June 3rd Brudenell Social Club, Leeds (supporting Spoon)