Saturday, January 27, 2018

The Magik Sounds of the Pine Hill Haints

After finally catching the PHH the other night, I had to pick up at least one of their many CDs, and this one just happened to jump out at me. As best as I can tell, this features most of the line-up that I saw - with a different accordion player, but the snare, washtub bass and mandonlinist/ washboardist / saw player backing lead singer/ guitarist Jamie.

As would be expected, here they continue to ply their mixture of old-world folk/ zydeco/ Irish jigs/ and rockabilly to great effect. The sound is overall simple'n'sparse, mostly acoustic, but still jumpin'n'swingin'. The saw is used to excellent effect in the surprisingly haunting, 50's-ish ballad "Mrs. Pac-Man", "Galaxy Buffalo" is fast-paced and Irish-sounding, the rhythmic banjo adds a new flavor to "Rattle Them Bones" and I dig the group vocals, "Villain vs the Kid" is kinda like the Pogues doin' a spaghetti western tune,  Jamie shows off his fiddlin' in the appropriately titled "Shattered Waltz", and there's a bit of a Jamaican feel to "Blow".

"Can I Have Your Board When You Are Dead" (nice title!) has a bit of a "Ghost Riders in the Sky" feel, "Total Zero" has more Pogues stylings, "Coffin Black" is short'n'punky, "Dead Ringer" again feels a bit Jamaican but with punk leanings, the saw, guitar and accordion add plenty of melody to the waltzin' "Lady Bug", "Scarlett Fever" is a fairly conventional (and great) fiddle-led Irish jig, "What Am I Gonna Do But Wait Right Here" is a sparse mid-tempo number with cool electric guitar work, and the closer, "7 On a Pair of Dice" finishes with swing'n'melody.

My words rarely truly depict what I am hearing and in cases like the Haints it can be especially hard, as they combine so many influences and yet sound consistent throughout. I really enjoy these cats, though and will be looking for more from them.