Haley Moley describes themselves as a ‘concentration of electronic, funk, and disco dj’s with rock experience steeped in atmospheric, dirty guitars’. What I hear from that is they do techno, funk, disco, dance music… and I need hear no more. I listen to mostly noise, doom, sludge, math; generally angsty miserable sounds that you absolutely CANNOT dance to. I’m gonna hate this.
But I don’t. Not at all.
Perhaps if you like a group, you hear what you want to. And though I hear synth pop, it’s layered in with deep, introverted, minor keys that speak to me of a group that may claim or aim to be danceable pop but has been haunted into showing their true darkwave colors and demons. Indeed their first ep ‘Object Permanence’ was far more in the vein of the description mentioned above. But in this new ep, I hear early New Order with dark alto vocals that are a cross between Patti Smith and Chrissy Hynde at the helm. And though much is owed to eighties synth pop frameworks and hooks, it’s covered over with layers of dark fuzzy bass lines and gothic guitars, until it sounds like its struggling with itself, its melange of sounds, its underlying dark emotions and lyrical themes… Sounds good to me.
And since all we pretentious writers interpret the songs we hear and write as though we’ve uncoded the peremptorily correct interpretations, I’ll be no exception here (since Haley Moley had the bad sense to include the lyrics on their cd thereby inviting me to delve into their meanings);
Apple of my Eye presents the proud time when someone you love and have helped form begins to rebel against you. Painful as it is, it’s what must be done in this world if an individual is to break free of their formative influences and become their own person. And “it’s a beautiful day” when it happens.
Formidable Man is a superhero song for all us regular, flawed guys. You don’t have to be a body builder, a CEO or a die hard green peace activist to be formidable, to be everything to the woman that loves you. She loves you for your weaknesses and your strengths; even though you may be shy and wrestle with personal demons all day long, you face it all and do what needs to be done. She loves the humility you exhibit on top of all the massive inner strength you possess.
Souvenirs (my favorite track) sets a despondent tone on a pensive tune about the inevitable and disturbing passage of time. Shy backing instrumentation is punctured by forte piano chords that sound like they’re interfering with the mood of someone trying to come to terms with things by raising constant objections. Best of all containing the brilliant one liner ‘Souvenirs… collapse the years’, about how tiny nostalgic items can remind you that no matter how much time has passed nor how long it seemed, it’s all just a moment we’re reminded of in small keepsakes that elicit all the feelings we went through at specific times in our lives.
I will admit that the title track Cloven is lyrically impenetrable. And like the music, beautiful, dark, and abstract.
Haley Moley may bill themselves as a collection of dj’s with tunes inspired by their dance music roots and experience, but when they get together they create something so much deeper, darker, and more interesting. And while they, like so many other great groups, are virtual small fish in their hometown of Troy, if they got the exposure to the much larger audience they deserve, they’d strike an enormous cord, again and again.
(did you see how I did that clever thing, inserting the title of the album into the concluding note? Yeah, I’m totally proud of that. Perhaps some day a real publication will reprint one of my reviews)