Hazel – Are You Going To Eat That?
Genre: Grunge/Alternative Rock
Label: Sub Pop
Hazel were a grunge band that received mild success during the early and mid-nineties, having been signed on by the titan grunge and noise rock label Sub Pop, yet never quite reaching the level of fame as their fellow label mates Nirvana and Mudhoney. The now defunct four-piece were made up of Pete Krebs on guitar and vocals, Brady Smith on bass, Jody Bleyle on drums and vocals and Fred Nemo as… well… their dancer. While their sound is affiliated to the famous grunge scene of the 90’s, to say they were a carbon copy of so many popular bands of the time would be false.
Mixing the quirkiness and use of male/female vocals of The Pixies, the simple yet catchy riffs of Nirvana and the general atmosphere of Dinosaur Jr., it seems the band were far from wanting to fit in or to be a household name. And so “Are You Going To Eat That?” was their second and final album while the band was in motion. Just reaching over 34-minutes long, it feels no longer than 20-minutes due to thirteen tracks that rarely reach beyond the three-minute mark, often fast-paced and constantly changing.
Opening track Lazy H. opens the album in a full-frontal, lethargic riffs and the duo-vocals of Jody Beyle’s and Pete Krebs leave an instant impression – the former feeling soothing and seductive while the latter gives a more baritone and supportive motion. Then Green Eyes embodies the ethnics of grunge, but the build of a soft punk approach, with a fairly speedy tempo of simple punk-influenced riffs and lyrics of heartbreak and memories. You can’t help but close your eyes and bob your head.
Ascension has a more straight-foward punk sound, but lathered in feelings of lethargy despite Krebs’s vocals being more forward. The following track Quick Jerk opens with a moody chugged riff, but giving away to a smooth and slightly playful pop-rock leads. Bleyle’s vocals particularly stand out in the track, especially over the surf-rock reminiscent drums – the combination of the two proving to be an addictive solution to hear.
This album is a gem that’s almost criminally overlooked. While, and rightly so, the 90’s will be remembered for such bands such as Nirvana and The Pixies, it seems a shame that Hazel never really got the recognition they deserved. If you love The Pixies or simply need to find quirky yet catchy 90’s rock sounds, then this album, and the band in general, is definitely for you. Just ridiculously simple and catchy rock.
Favourite tracks: Green Eyes, Quick Jerk, Ascension.