Songs From My Subaru #1
After many years spent writing music reviews, I had to give it up as travelling for work made submitting regular columns pretty tricky. Though, I really did enjoy the challenge of writing about new music and having to write about it in a way that I would relate to an unknown audience. So, the other day when travelling in my beat-up old car I hatched an idea to write about music again…but this time it wouldn’t be reactive. This means, no more reviews of albums by shit nu-metal bands, auto-tune pop-star wankery and definitely no barbecue dub.
As my old car only has a CD player and I have a massive collection of CDs, I figured that I would listen to a selection of pivotal albums from my travels (as I travelled) and write about them in my head. So, without further delay, the first CD up for the trip from Clyde to Dunedin is The Havalinas self-titled 1990 release.
Quite how I stumbled upon this gypsy-folk 3-piece is a wee bit of a mystery. Perhaps I was seduced by the album cover featuring three sinister looking dudes…hell, this was most definitely the baddest looking band of the day (especially after the heinous hair crimes of the 80s). They certainly looked like sort of miscreants that my 19-year-old skinny white self would like to hang out with.
Formed by primary songsmith Tim Scott McConnell and his old musician mate, the amusingly monikered ‘Smutty Smiff’ on upright bass, with Charlie Quintana rattling the skins, their one and only release doesn’t contain one dud. From the cracking opening strut of ‘High Hopes’ that has been covered by Springsteen not once…but twice; to the socially aware ‘Fill em Up’, and the lyrical ride that is ‘Sticks and Stones’, it becomes glaringly apparent that their label ‘Elektra’ must have done one helluva shithouse job promoting this album…or it could have simply been too far ahead of its time.
I suspect that if this album was released today with a more organic drum sound (it was the early 90s after all) then it would be a rip-roaring success. With all these wanna be roots-rival posers cashing in with turgid peons to blandness, this album still sounds refreshingly badass in the best possible sense.
A few years back it might have been tricky tracking it down as it has been out of print for sometime…but Spotify has rectified that so there is no excuse to not check out The Havalinas.