Delta Haymax

Delta Haymax

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Indie rock in the late '90s was a rather splintered affair, with as many diverging streams as there were bands to invent them. In any such climate, it's incredible to come across a record that strikes right to the heart of genre's intentions, forgoing the work of any particular scene in favor of composing generally wonderful music. Delta Haymax's self-titled album does just this -- the album's clean, ringing guitar dynamics fall somewhere between Built to Spill, Versus, and Honeybunch, without these comparisons ever seeming very important; vocally, references range from anthemic emo feels to some of the Lilys' shoegazing periods (Eccsame the Photon Band), but always concentrating on melody and emotion over genre conventions. The result is absolutely fantastic, like Built to Spill's Keep It Like a Secret minus all of the distorted rock leanings -- in a manner similar to the under-known Beezus, the band simply takes a three-piece set-up and a thorough knowledge of indie conventions (aside from the obvious Built to Spill influence, there are shades of Small Factory, the Ocean Blue, Unrest, the Feelies, and just about every other great indie band) and turns out a series of gorgeous, complex tunes that find a great deal of power even in their thorough gentleness. Anyone who's ever considered the possibility that indie rock in its pure form is a played-out affair can take faith in Delta Haymax, an album so earnest and unassuming that it would seem inappropriate to call it brilliant.

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