“If you’re a fan of The Smiths and The Coral at their most melodic, then this may be right up your street” – The Guardian
If there’s ever been a time to catch High Hazels unleash their sumptuous melodic phrasing and majestic pop sentimentality upon the world, the time is now. With eagerly-anticipated new material at the ready and a single set to drop at any moment, the evolution of the Sheffield 4-piece is about to enter its next phase, emerging fresh from the Yorkshire valleys not a moment too soon.
For the past few months, James Leesley (vocals and guitar), Scott Howes (guitar), Anthony Barlow (drums) and Paul Musgrave (bass guitar), have been busy. The M1 has become their home as regular trips between their flag-adorned Kelham Island rehearsal room – an industrial workspace in a former factory overlooking the River Don - and The Nave in Leeds has seen the band writing, rehearsing, recording and even experimenting with strange chord lengths and sonic textures.
“We really enjoy exploring new sounds,” drummer Anthony explains. “There’s all these expectations of what we should sound like but that’s the best thing about music; you can take it where you want and it’s not always about doing the same thing, sounding the same or what’s expected of you.”
Giving fans a small taste of what they have been nestling in their rolled-up sleeves, High Hazels embarked upon a small run of dates in October and debuted two new tracks. As those fortunate enough to catch the sold out Yellow Arch show in November will tell, the Handsworth 4-piece’s new melodic trajectory is set towards an exhilarating new horizon.
“We’ve approached the songs by looking further into the way we like to sound,” explains James. “Eventually we’ll find a place we’ve never been to before and the new material feels like we’ve found the edges of that place,” he teases.
December saw High Hazels play a stripped-back ‘front room’ session for Spinning Discs (which featured a heart-warming cover of The National and limited-edition, hand-written set-lists) and the band returned to The Tramshed’s decks for their own ‘Studio Electrophonique’ drinking and DJ residency playing the songs of their heroes Nick Cave, The Walkmen, Tim Buckley and The Velvet Underground.
Last year’s singles ‘Joined at The Lip’ and ‘Sequin Eyes’, gained support from BBC 6music’s Steve Lamacq and held the top spot on Amazing Radio’s chart for an impressive 13 weeks before the band were invited to host their own ‘takeover’ show. Following acclaim from the likes of Dermot O’Leary and The Guardian, the band has also opened for Richard Hawley, The Coral and Slow Club.
With High Hazels’ brand new album now well in ear-shot, 2018 is shaping up to be a very exciting year indeed.