Claude Hay – I Love Hate You (review)

Claude Hay – I Love Hate You (128 Records) review

More meat, less grease

When we reviewed Claude Hay’s 2010 album, Deep Fried Satisfied, we said:

“His music is the audio equivalent of a deep-fried Oreo…there’s absolutely nothing subtle about it, yet it’s incredibly irresistible.”

Well, the D.I.Y. man from “down under” has returned with album number three, I Love Hate You, a concept record dealing with things Hay loves, hates, and hates to love.

Hay continues writing about unique subjects (on his last album, his biggest song, “How Can You Live With Yourself,” was about a faulty printer).  On the title track, he confesses his on-again/off-again relationship with his touring van, which he’s tricked out into an awesome party pad, but also frequently leaves him stranded miles from his next gig.  On “Stone Face” he bemoans the loss of good customer service in a retail environment.

While in America, Hay had a chance to record at the legendary Sun Studios in Memphis, TN, once home to Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, etc.  The product of that is the possessed, slow blues “Hound,” which refers to an ill-fated Greyhound trip across America.

One of the songs that shows incredible growth is “Close,” which begins as a soft, acoustic piece with strings, before building to a bombastic ending, a la Zeppelin’s “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You.”  Also great is the AC/DC riffing of “Where Have You Gone,” which makes sense, since the Young brothers are also from Australia.  Hay has also improved his chops all around – he lays down a funky groove on “Narrow Mind,” then smokes during the wah wah solo on “Close.”

Just because there’s growth here –  don’t worry, Hay won’t be asked to join Emerson Lake & Palmer anytime soon – there’s still plenty of foot-stompin, good-time music, as on the furious “Blues Train,” or “Good Time.”  He covered Queen’s “We Will Rock You” on his last album – here he burns through the Beatles’ “Come Together,” ignoring the signature riff, instead turning it inside out for another blues stomper.

Although not as immediately enjoyable as his previous record, I Love Hate You gets better with each listen, and in the end is a much better album.  –Tony Peters