Liam Hayes

Slurrup

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Credited to Liam Hayes alone, Slurrup is, aptly enough, less lush than his work with Plush. These stripped-down, immediate songs feel even more so in comparison to the wistful, twinkly mood Hayes and company set on Korp Sole Roller, where filigreed power pop and Laurel Canyon-esque reflections were surrounded by contemplative interludes. Here, Hayes lets nothing get in the way of the music's momentum and he clears out the bric-a-brac in favor of adrenaline, with winning results. "One Way Out" adds muscle and sweat to his flair with hooks, paving the way for driving psych-rock standouts like "Fokus" and "Outhouse." Of course, there's still a fair amount of detail in Slurrup's arrangements and instrumentation; the spiky keyboards that propel "Nothing Wrong" are essential to Hayes' music with and without Plush, while "Get It Right"'s backward guitars add to the impression that it's the mirror image of a Korp Sole Roller song. Elsewhere, "Theme from Mindball" shows he can't help nodding toward soundtracks, albeit imaginary ones. Even Slurrup's slower songs have some urgency, whether it's the Motown bounce of "Keys to Heaven," the Doug Sahm-like organ solo on "Long Day," or the syrupy warmth of "Greenfield." It's just that this time around, Hayes lets the elegant bones of songs like "August Fourteen" and "Fight Magic with Magic" speak for themselves. All in all, Slurrup is a smile-inducing reminder that it's too easy to pigeonhole him as just a master craftsman -- and that Hayes' pop is arguably even more potent when it's not quite as elaborate.

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