inger/songwriter Liam Hayes has constructed a masterpiece. Fed is an album of great depth and cohesion, an album of great tonal variance, and overall, a great accomplishment. Hayes has enlisted an army of musicians including producer Steve Albini to create Fed .
Due to both the brave, Wilsonesque arrangements and the bombastic performance of the brass (in particular), Hayes removes all of the typical awkwardness that is typically associated with the singer/songwriter genre. Hayes has a special vocal touch, allowing every lyric its full meaning, whether he is belting it out or whispering it in falsetto.
“Greyhound Bus Station” is a good example of all of these factors working together wonderfully. Hayes approaches this song like every other song on this record, with the confidence that it is already an established standard. He is placed right in front of the band, giving us some great lines: “People I’d say I was too far gone to ever sing this song“. Everything about this song is correct, the music is just the right level of jaunty, the horns jump in at the right places, everything is very fluid. Especially transcendent are Hayes’ vocal antics, his voice bending sublimely in the phrase ‘what’s it gonna be?’
It’s not just with the upbeat cuts that Hayes excels, though. Things like the twenty seven second instrumental interlude “Unis” add a very laid back element to the album. “Born Together” is a hazy lullaby. Hayes, assisted by some simply arranged strings and flute, croons us into the song, pleading, “I hope you come through”. The instrumentation is drop-dead gorgeous, and the hook is very powerful. The song wins on many levels, hypnotic in its pulsating rhythm, riding along on a blanket of strings.
Hayes’ performance on this album is so stellar one wonders why others don’t shoot this high. Why is an album with so much wonderful excess so unique? Especially frustrating is that this is an independent release, made with independent funds. Considering this, it is a wonder that so many major label albums are so dull. Isn’t the idea of a major label to get more money to the artist to go crazy in the studio? Well, ‘go crazy’ is exactly what Hayes does on this album, and it’s a pity others aren’t following his example.
Reviewed by: Tyler Martin
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01