Austrian composer and musician PAUL HAYWORTH isn’t the most highly profiled artist in his homeland nor elsewhere, although I do understand he has experienced some relative success as a member of the band Freud. He appeared as a solo artist in 2011, and throughout 2011 and 2012 he made a plethora of his solo recordings available on the Bandcamp website. When and where these were originally made I don’t really know, nor of they have ever been released previously. If the latter is the case, then it’s been done in a rather subtle manner though, to the extent that one can’t Google some documentation on that fact. “Scar” is one the dozen or so albums by Hayworth, and was made available in July 2012.
The name of the game on this occasion is what I’d describe as lo-fi pop/rock. It sounds like it could have been recorded anytime from the late 70’s or onwards, to my ears and mind sometime in the late 1990’s would be an estimated guess. But the sound is timeless in a very lo-fi manner, and the music itself doesn’t reveal any characteristic features that binds it to a certain time period that I can establish with my musical knowledge (or lack thereof).
The individual compositions are by and large vocal driven affairs, the instrumentation providing a backdrop for Hayworth’s voice and textured inserts between the vocal passages to a greater extent than being a part of a total whole where the vocals is but one element. Besides Paul’s melodic but slightly gruffy vocals, the combination of acoustic and electric guitars is a central element throughput. The former providing a stable melodic core, the latter adding darker toned textures, the occasional soloing runs and a fair amount of psychedelic oriented details on a number of occasions. To the point that quite a few items here should be of interest to those with a dedicated taste for psychedelic rock. Hayworth’s vocals also reflect this mood on those occasions, opting for a lighter toned, clean and somewhat distanced delivery adding and somewhat emphasizing a 70’s mood to the proceedings.
Mix and production are the main reasons for me branding this music lo-fi. Unbalanced, and not at all clean and orderly in the manner we’re used to in this day and age of Pro-Tools and other digital tools that empowers even home and amateur artists with the possibility to create recordings that sound professional. This may be an intended element for Hayworth however, specially as there’s a market and general interest in lo-fi rock music despite of or possibly because of the slick soundscapes we encounter whenever we listen to contemporary music of any kind.
As far as the tracks themselves are concerned, they tend to stick and stay in the pleasant department for me. Hummable, likable pieces of music that I could listen to anytime and anyplace, but without making a grand impact of the kind that gives me a strong desire to deeply investigate them through and through. Music for any odd occasion, and I suspect that this is an album that would really thrive in the car stereo. A couple of compositions do stand out however: Opening piece Hate the Throwbacks, a nifty bass driven affair with psychedelic details and subtle electronic effects in an otherwise energetic setting. Later on the somewhat more straight forward When You’re Feelin Blue also makes a subtly stronger impression, an effective combination of acoustic and electric guitars supplemented by rough vocals and an all around forceful display of 80’s/90’s indie rock.
My rating: 62/100