Yazan - Hahaha (Exploding in Sound)

You walked into a rock venue and found some soulful blues, excellent third LP from NYC guitar ace

Released Apr 20th, 2018 via Exploding in Sound / By Ian Stanley
Yazan - Hahaha (Exploding in Sound) Queens of the Stone Age, DIY rock, Sabbath and most of all the distinctive sound of Pile melt all over this effort from Yazan Fahmawi, otherwise known simply as Yazan.

The most distinctive Pile-like moment – probably brought by Kris Kuss of the Boston band – is within lead single Cockroach, a song that twangs its way through five minutes of blues, meandering key changes and throaty musings about the darkness and light of life’s decisions.

While it seems like some form of self-flagellation from a relationship gone sour due to his own actions, Yazan explains it is actually about a far more oppressive notion; 'around this time (of writing) I had a revelation about the value of life, and realized that while we are taught from a young age that cockroaches are pests, they are generally harmless and defenceless against us, and that although a crawling roach may instinctively cause a violent reaction in people, they have a right to live peacefully, especially considering that they cannot do us any direct harm'. this considerate, alternative approach is in the notes of his music as well.

Songs such as Tiger, The Star and Do You Wanna Go are thoughtful, loose and lucid. They seemingly follow a free-flowing thought pattern for the solos, slow melodies and carefully unleashed blues tones of Yazan’s voice. There is even a hint of strained vocals and maudlin moan reminiscent of Dave Grohl back when Foo Fighters made music for The Colour and the Shape. It may sound loose, and produced in a DIY fashion, but it certainly isn’t unplanned.

It would be ridiculous to write about the composition and music on this album without writing about the obvious technical guitar ability that Yazan holds. Solos bite into the beastly chord changes and vocal hollerings in The Star with all the fun and fantasticality of an ostentatious psychedelic rock band from a sweaty black hole of a venue in the 60s. But while you get that wall of sound effect from The Star there is the feeling that you walked into a rock venue and found a bonus of soulful blues. Songs like Ghost Blues highlight with a deep voice and brooding about being 'broken like a tooth' when meeting someone for the first time.

While that variety gives the album a rollercoaster feel; it drops off, picks up and sways between and throughout songs. There are undoubtedly some songs which kind of step off the ride which Hahaha could do without. But the majority of songs push the accelerator. And this becomes an album not just for fans of Queens of the Stone Age, DIY rock, Sabbath and Pile, but also for guitar players of all stripes.