by Sean Jewell::
Daryl Hance has crafted a psychedelic fuzz bomb of hot water soul, a hearty meal of an album full of fat tones, and hypnotic grooves. He relies on gospel themes -soul claps, and lyrics of praise, but delivers his message via 60s and 70s rock inspired tones. There’s full on fuzz guitar, and pillowy soft bass drum, simple, inspirational songs that are light and fun, yet deceptive. On first listen Wild Blue Iris is a good rock ‘n’ roll album, but on subsequent listens I find myself sucked in to Hance’s mantra-esque refrains and the album becomes it’s own gospel. Wild Blue Iris is an existential watershed brought on by the realization that life is not just the self, but the surroundings, and all things are inextricably linked. Hance’s record is at once deeply spiritual and entirely agnostic.
“A Celebration” uses jangly electric rhythm over snare to give thanks for situations planned and unplanned “one day at a time / it falls in line / a step unfolds / right through this life”. Hance is capable of composing hooks that stick. His very southern sounding music has all the sophistication of british pop, but comes via simple arrangements. If you’re not already tuned in Daryl Hance Powermuse will get you hooked on “Those Vibrations”. The song turns the percussion section into revival clap, with foot stomping bass line, and fuzzed out growling electric Hance sings “let those vibrations flow right through my soul”.
“With The Tide” celebrates natures cycles, from the sea to the sun, and revels in simply existing. In tone it damn near matches the impossibly fat electric sound on Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit In The Sky”, another evangelical agnostic song. Hance’s theme deepens, acknowledging the ebb and flow and choosing to “roll with the tide, and have a good time”.
It’s worth noting the geographical influence on Hance’s music here as well. Hot water soul seems to emanate the same heat as the earth in a north Florida summer. The combination of humidity and the unforgiving sun seem to snap you into a hyper awareness that regardless of where you stand you exist in nature. The line between being human and just being is a haze. The moss in the trees, swamp reeds, dragonflies, and even huge thunderheads forming across the endless flat horizon remind you that you’re just as much “nature” as they are.
“The Secret” continues with the same formula. Hypnotic bass and distorted guitar riffs lull you into Hance’s natural world. At the same time he’s challenging commonly held idea of any omnipotent anthropomorphic deity by letting us in on the secret that captial G god is actually everything, yourself included, and “everything is always on your side.” “The Sun Is Gonna Rise On Time” buries the tracks most “Mofro” beat under sprawling wah-wah guitar and reverb.
“Inside” cuts the tempo in half, adds slide guitar, and wets the vocals, for a fat-toned transcendental meditation about self care. On the very next track compressed guitar springs forth like sprouts from the earth. Layers of percussion build on the track and improvisational guitar solos extend bright toned branches through the song that hopes we’ll all “Always Be Around”. “High Alright” is a true blues that revels slowly in good company inviting you to get high and wandering off into a pealing electric solo and fading out quietly.
As the album enters an instrumental phase “Vibrational Reprise” picks the pace back up and immediately combines all of albums musical elements. Punchy bass, and fuzzy riffs groove with a soul clap on an ear worm riff and vocal improvisations. It’s a brilliant, short jam with a beefy beat that’ll stick to your ribs. Coming Home swirls around the one lyrical chant “I’m coming home”, and “Field Holler” combines electric slide with a mean break beat and Hance’s reverb laden scat vocals. The only acoustic jam comes via a slide guitar and six string briefly frolicking in a duet at the end of the album. Wild Blue Iris is that crucial summertime album you’ve been looking for. You can put it on and let it rock dependably in the background, or you can choose to engage it, to marinate in it’s warmth and positivity, and be washed over by it’s rock ‘n’ roll.
Daryl Hance Powermuse is on a US tour now and Wild Blue Iris is available here. American Standard Time is proud to present Daryl Hance Powermuse in Seattle at El Corazon on August 21st. More on that here.