Erin Haley, House On Fire
Having never heard of Erin Haley I had to check out her debut album, Second First Impressions, before I could properly critique her follow-up release. It took a while, but I eventually found Haley’s unkempt MySpace featuring some old tracks. While they are excellently recorded and produced, they don’t sound like they were written with Haley in mind. What they do show is her transformation from sassy cowgirl to sophisticated country Grrl on her electric sophomore, House On Fire.
Opener, “Waiting For The End Of The World” is a huge arrangement starting off with MIDI keyboard explosions and layers of menacing fiddle (yes, it is possible!) and edgy guitar parts before segueing into a light-hearted swing before punching back into the wild rock chorus. Ending in a bright and hopeful string section – it’s clear that Haley is securing her country-pop identity. “Right Where You Left It” and “Mean Streak” continue with these bold statements as she finds a balance between radio-friendly country and urban coffeehouse folk. Now, don’t worry country music lovers there are still plenty of boogie-woogie tracks; “That Just Don’t Seem Right” and “Mama Says” have plenty of attitude and sound ready-made for Dolly Parton. Softer songs like, “If There Ever Was” and “Don’t Think I Won’t” will bring to mind some of The Dixie Chicks poppier moments.
In the end, what makes Haley’s House On Fire so damn good is her ability to project all those raw emotions into songs written for her (although, I should mention she co-writes on two tracks) and with her keen ear for blending old and new sounds there’s no stopping Canada’s best kept secret. (Independent)
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Erin Haley’s Official Website