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Hanging Stars - The House on the Hill

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 8 / 10 / 2015

Hanging Stars - The House on the Hill
Label: Great Pop Supplement
Format: 7"


A three-track taster for their forthcoming album from London collective the Hanging Stars shows that main man Richard Olsen has widened his Paisley Underground leanings a little from his outings with the See See and the Eighteenth Day Of May

Last year the wonderful Sundazed label released an album by a band named the See See; 15 songs from a band headed by Richard Olson, a Londoner who sounded musically like he was a Byrd who was brought up in Liverpool. That album, ‘Days, Nights and Late Morning Lights’, was actually a compilation of singles and previously available album cuts but was an excellent introduction to the jingle-jangle world of Olson and his cohorts; it also paved the way for the See See’s next ‘proper’ album, ‘Once Forever and Again’, which was released later the same year and which surely reached a wider audience because of that compilation. Boasting sleeve notes by Sid Griffin it was a perfect primer for anyone smitten by the Paisley Underground or for those who never tired of listening to the Byrds and their ilk. Now comes a three track 7” via Great Pop Supplement from a loose collective whose core band is the one and the same Richard Olson with Sam Ferman, Paulie Cobra, also from the See See, with Horse Phillips (Dan Michelson & The Coastguards) on pedal steel. So what’s the difference between the See See and the Hanging Stars you might ask? Especially as Richard Olson is the main songwriter in both bands. Not a lot is the answer if the three songs on ‘The House on the Hill’ are any indication of the music that will be presented on the forthcoming debut by the Hanging Stars, ‘Over the Silvery Lake’. This means that, although there’s less of the Byrdsian jangle and a tougher sound over these three songs, there’s still that Michael Head/Shack sound hovering over the proceedings with a little of that psychedelic fairy dust sprinkled over the songs. The title song has an almost Spaghetti Western sound, and is a murder ballad about a young girl who drowns herself in the sea after having her heart broken. With Olson’s vocals suitably murky it’s down to the instruments to really convey the tale, which they manage to do. The first ‘B’ side is ‘Endlessly Aimless’, another Olsen gem. Returning to his jangle past it’s a dream of a song in more ways than one, a blissful end to a summer's day tune, the type of song you can totally immerse yourself in. The third song is a cover of the Gun Club song ‘Mother of Earth’. Unlike the previous songs which were recorded in Lake Hollywood LA with Rob Campanella, this track was recorded in Walthamstow with Brian O’Shaughnessy and mixes the Spaghetti Western influence of the lead song with a little of the jangle of ‘Endlessly Aimless’ which is a neat way of signing off this taster for the forthcoming album. Whatever Richard Olson is involved in musically will always be worth more than a little of your time. Over the three songs on ‘The House on the Hill’ it appears that he’s fleshed out the sound he made with the See See to incorporate other influences and ideas. Although the most See See sounding song on here displays all that we loved about that band’s sound, it’s refreshing that the other two songs show a slightly different side to his music and an interesting one at that. With some stunning artwork, this single is a perfect taster of what is surely an album to watch out for.

Track Listing:-
1 The House on the Hill
2 Endlessly Aimless
3 Mother of Earth

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A New Kind of Sky (2020)
Continuing to refine and expand upon cosmic Americana templates, The Hanging Stars deliver a third album of well-crafted wares
Songs for Somewhere Else (2018)
Over the Silvery Lake (2016)

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