May 15, 2008


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Hayden, In Field & Town
Fat Possum Records, April 29
Existentialist shut-in alt-folk isn’t always cute, endearing or even proper fodder for Juno-wannabe soundtracks. Toronto slacker Paul Hayden Desser is 37 now, but, bless ’im, still infatuated with the sound of himself drooling sleepily into a bowl of Cap’n Crunch while the other kids grow up.

But I do like “The Van Song,” spoon-fed paean to slacker dogma that it is: me and my girl got on the bus with all the weirdos, see, and some of them liked us on sight and some didn’t, and then we did some he-ing and she-ing, and then I went shopping for a van for us. Brain-dumps like this, when sung soporifically to a piano following along note for note as though auditioning for the Friday night gig at the old folks home, is, in fact, cute and endearing, and, if enough people believe it covers some virgin ground, might even make it onto some crummy soundtrack someday. “Worthy of Your Esteem” is even better, though; Hayden obviously stayed up way past his bedtime, whenever that was that week, tweaking the volume levels of the “Runaway Train”-stolen vocal melody, misfit stun guitar and acoustic strumming until they all synched up to form one big exquisite blotch of blah. BEric W. Saeger