HACHA: Moorpark StreetDrinking from the same musical well as the Black Crowes, Gov't Mule and the Allman Brothers, this hard hitting, four piece rock band offers energetic in-your-face music laced with impressive musicianship.
Opting to stay home with veteran engineer/producer Richard P. Robinson rather than record in studio may not be the norm for most bands, however Hacha has never been "the norm" and "Moorpark Street" illustrates this separation from current radio airwave fillers. This is the band's third effort with Robinson, and the comforts of home shine throughout this album, while also revealing an inventiveness of equal proportions.
From it's tastefully futuristic, dual guitar line introduction to it's quirky and heartfelt subject matter, Campfire is a welcoming handshake that soon grips the listener firmly the entire duration of "Moorpark Street". 5 Foot 3 runs the gambit from a dub spliced blues riff to a remarkably listener friendly progressive rock foray culminating in the quartet's signature "chant rock" outros.
Belly Up showcase's the band's pop sensibilities and is fittingly being listed as the album's first single. Hacha throws the listener another curve with Big Sky, a mid album epic with tempo changes that nary effect the groove, and lyrics conjuring up this band's traveling spirit. The fifth track, Brown Rabbit takes the listener on a bouncing journey filled with spacey guitars and another dose of the band's chant rock sound. These really are interesting pop moments and the band's choruses tend to repeat a la "I'm Your Captain" without slipping into pretentiousness.
Next we are treated to a rolling number entitled Diddly that slowly meanders through stories of a traveler's solitude. It then boogies back into a frenzied Papineau solo that never quite veers off course showcasing the guitarist's nack for exploration within a melody while also coating a theme and purpose over the piece. Papineau continues to reveal his versatility with the wah soaked intro to Gypsy Cab and the jarring solo attacks that displays his inventive playing style.
The unconventional title of Ugh! is counter balanced by it's warm and familiar riff that is the base layer of another radio friendly song. Hacha still manages to inject originality into this piece with a bass breakdown that has Murphy leading the group on a reggae tangent, breathing new life into traditional song structure. The island sound is a tool Hacha plays with a number of times throughout the album and is still utilized sparingly enough to remain tasteful.
The last two tracks on the album are dynamically different with Goldmine taking us to a hoedown and Week Again leading us to a jazz club. Bell's harp playing emerges on the former and is another welcome addition. However, the highlight of this song is Etienne's percussion which slowly builds to a marching band's thickness while keeping up with the song's ferocity. Hacha concludes the album with the aforementioned Week Again which may be the group's strongest offering as a whole. From its syrupy opening riff to the acapella placed expertly alongside the jazz rock leanings, this song really has it all. A grand way to complete the journey as the entire band joins in on the chanting chorus, "I want to live this week again."
Before you can decide if these guys are all about fun or just changing the face of music today, you find yourself hitting the repeat button so you can take the journey again. In Moorpark Street, the Los Angeles based Hacha, once again stretch their sound and our minds to fit their ever-expanding musical direction. The strength of the relationship between the four is like a semi-transparent layer that rides along the top of each song; each is unique, a sound totally apart from the rest, but makes you feel that same way inside- the way you feel when you put an old vinyl copy of your favorite album on and close your eyes. Moorpark Street takes you from pop to prog, from sonic to serene, and it takes Hacha from sophomores straight to graduation day.
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2. 5 Foot 3
3. Belly Up
4. Big Sky
5. Brown Rabbit
7. Gypsy Cab
10. Week Again