It’s all Nick Drake’s fault… have you ever wondered how many bands there are called Hazey (Hazy) Jane? There’s one in London fresh faced and pop orientated, one in the States sans e – maybe many more, and then there’s this one, confusingly also with an e in the name, then there’s a New England beer!
From this point on you do your own research, I’m sticking with a co.uk after their website name, for ‘tis they who’ve produced ‘Anima Rising.’ Hazey Jane is the alter ego and band for Chris Brown, acoustic, ambient musician of Kettering, joined on this second album under the banner by Kevin Ward, (bass) David Hopkins, (percussion) Corrine Lucy, (vocals) and Anna Plaminiak (keyboards.)
Comparisons aren’t helpful, despite professing a love for the afore mentioned Nick Drake, John Martyn also lands at the same airport, the results are unlike either of those two talented singer writers. What’s included on ‘Anima Rising’ – translation from the Latin ‘Spirit/Soul Rising,’ – don’t say you’re not educated here – tends to be softer rather than significantly punchy.
The album begins with acapella vocals before diving headlong into booming bass and sheets of strummed acoustic, ‘ Inside Out,’ is a miasma of washes, which is disarmingly seductive. ‘Trade Winds,’ a gentle breeze, a lazy, laid back thing you’d play on a summer afternoon, swinging in a hammock. Lots to like and to surprise you as well, Chris is into his samples, ‘Alraune,’ starts off with keyboard swathes and distant thunder before what sounds like a detuned harpsichord and guitar cycle bring in Germanic lyrics and lines about gallows and insanity. No, I couldn’t fathom it either, but the song’s appealing enough wrapped in cooed female vocals and echoes.
‘Anima Rising,’ is in the end plain escapism, a small corner in which to lose yourself for a while. No bad thing in these difficult days. Pour yourself a glass of whatever, put your headphones on, sit back and play this. You’ll find you’re the better for it.