I don’t know how to describe this music. It’s the embodiment of a certain radio station here in Canberra, Australia (FM 104.7), but that doesn’t help many of you. Maybe it’s that the genre is so inoffensive, suitable adjectives are hard to come by. I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of it (acoustic rock? Folk rock? Dull-rock?), but when I do want something from this corner of modern music, I listen to Dave Matthews Band or Goo Goo Dolls, because frankly, their music isn’t as boring as 99% of their peers’.
That’s not to say that Sister Hazel are boring per se. They have their style down-pat, and they write tight songs. But they’re so predictable! From overly-used song structures (couldn’t you try to mix it up a bit?!), to tried-and-true lyrics (“I’m not right/ And I’m not fine/ I wanna be rain that tastes like wine/ I wanna be good/ I wanna be great/ I wanna be everything/ except for your mistake”), Chasing Daylight is something of a blueprint for middle-of-the-road, Feel-good Rock for Forty Year Olds.* As you’d expect from bland musical comfort-food, all the songs sound the same. It’s a sameness that quickly gets very tiring.
On the plus side, the production is clear and crisp (ready to be compressed into oblivion by easy listening radio stations, no doubt), and there are some flourishes of genuinely-enjoyable songwriting (download “Killing Me Too” if you’re curious). But even these bright moments are undermined by the album’s pervasive monotony and safety in numbers sensibility.
(*This isn’t to say that all forty year olds have bad taste. You know what I’m talking about; it’s a “rock” album for the middle-aged citizen who wants a break from Shania. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t the best name for this genre. I tried.)
Sister Hazel: http://www.sisterhazel.com