Hayley Sabella’s EP “Farm Fingers” makes me think two things, one is “this music makes me feel happy” and the other is “Why are there only four songs? I want more songs. Many more songs”. Luckily this gal has been playing out more and more it seems, and you can catch her up and down the Massachusetts coast from Palmer Street in Cambridge, to Plymouth (all over the place) and beyond.
I may be cheating due to the fact that I have seen Hayley perform in person before this review, but the girl has vocal control like no other performer I have seen emerge from this community. It’s the subtle changes and inflections in her timbre and tone that may almost go unnoticed by a non-attentive listener. But they are there, and you cannot deny they make for a wonderfully beautiful voice. Small nuances and purposeful changes in her phrasing make the songs interesting where a lesser songwriter may have dulled it down. Watching Hayley perform is almost as interesting as hearing her. You can tell she is a girl who knows her voice, where it is going, and how to command it’s power. Honeyed, but with mild rasp that is unique and assured to turn a few heads.
Lately I have been getting killed with this “somewhat pop, somewhat indie folk” thing where I never really listened to it previously. Maybe its the company I have been keeping lately, or my tastes are evolving. You cannot deny that this stuff has commercial potential to it, but it’s still just good music. It’s fun but at the same time serious.
“Idealism” could be in any number of commercials you see on TV (seriously, if Ms. Sabella isn’t already receiving some royalty checks from Gap, some make-up company, and the California travel bureau, then she should be). The driving beat and clapping is infectious, and even if you tried, you can’t help but clap and tap along. Seriously, go try, I have time…
Plus it has a banjo in it. Win in my book.
The next track, the title track, starts off with some real ether-worldly vocal parts and some kind of organ, a distinctive, but somehow seamless change of pace from the first track. Then, the vocal and percussive finger pick enters. The song is a slow build, with parts entering slowly after that first interlude and eventually launching into a full out orchestration of sound. A really excellent transition the “oh my god” phrasing around “I need rain” makes my knees weak. If you are going to put a common phrase like “OMG” (yeah, I just accronymed Oh my god, sue me) into a song, you better make it stand out. And Hayley pops the shit out of it. The song ends off in encircling of vocal parts that almost dizzy the mind, the orbiting of Hayley’s voice creates a sort of sonic cage which finally frees you and resolves without fault.
Knobby Wooden Tree Trucks is very “songwriter-ish” and a perfect display of the flexibility of this young lady’s musical capabilities. I have to say, this is probably my favorite of the bunch. The chorus has a simple, but great phrasing around the line “There’s hope. There’s hope for me”. A guitar and a voice is all she needs to create a very emotion drive song. Simple but effective songwriting can be a tough thing to pull off, but this song is a flawless example of it. That’s it.
The closing track has an interesting dynamic better a percussion driven guitar and vocal. Sabella’s voice floats graceful and naturally throughout the song and especially within the chorus. The break in this is just awesome and a perfect example of my first opinion on this gal’s performances. She completely controls every aspect of her voice and pushes it to places where a lot of folks are simply unable.
As an ending note, I think that Hayley Sabella is an artist that needs to be watched in 2013. This girl is going places and where those path leads is something I, for one, am really excited to see.
Check out Hayley’s new EP “Farm Fingers” online at: http://hayleysabella.bandcamp.com/