bridget hayden review from we need no swords

Bridget Hayden review from We Need No Swords

“Just Ideas/The Night’s Veins is a set of recordings self-released by Bridget Hayden between 2002 and 2007, then collected and reissued by Singing Knives in 2015.  So, not exactly hot off the press, then. But it’s as unruly a collection of drones, skeletal blues and ear-flummoxing feedback squeals as you’d want from the sometime Vibracathedral Orchestra member, and is bracing, grating and totally ace as a result.

As its title suggests, Just Ideas is a collision of sonic sketches whose scratchy, hypnotic maximalism echo Hayden’s work with Vibracathedral Orchestra while highlighting the originality of her input into the group’s overloaded sound. The first half switches abruptly from layers of ice-cold electronics with eerie, wordless vocals to retro harmonium jams splattered all over with burbling oscillations in a creaking soundscape fit for a lysergic restaging of some Oliver Postgate gem – Noggin the Nog perhaps – before cutting to a bone-dry blues exploration. Hayden’s thorny clusters of slide guitar sidestep the politeness of technique and avoid such inconveniences as chord progressions to cut straight to the early 20th century source, wrenching handfuls of slurred, clattering notes from the revenant spirits of Charley Patton and Son House, as her falsetto weaves a mantra to protect her corporeal self against psychic assault from the aggrieved departed.

The Night’s Veins, meanwhile is plenty scouring. A rushing tumult of feedback and noise batters everything with a spray-gun bleach splurge that’ll have you rushing for the Nivea. But that cuts out just as you’re getting used to the pain, replaced by a cosmic balm of gurgly drone, vowelly croon and music box tinkle that’s as satisfying a collage as you’d need most days. This side bows out with a jumble of reversed guitar twangs and high-pitched circuit board whines that mix delicacy with pin-prick sharpness.”

popsmargree, we need no swords, april 2017