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Adam Hattaway & The Haunters - Album Review: Rooster

18 Nov 2021 // A review by Roger Bowie

There’s a rooster down south, hiding out in Woolston, Christchurch and this rooster struts around like Jagger, high kicks Van Morrison out of the henhouse, and wakes you up in the morning with a raucous squawk. Why won’t that rooster shut the fuck up?

Because it’s a new dawn, that’s why, and whereas that rooster used to wander around the Eastern stage getting in everyone’s way, especially the other Adam, this rooster now is older, smarter, sharper and cockier. Well, you would be cocky wouldn’t you, being a rooster.

And while this rooster used to look a little haunted, now he’s the one doing the haunting, with a flock of cocks following his every move, and dressing up his every crow, transforming a raucous dawn breaker into a rambling shamble of a sweet sound. Haunters.

What am I on about with all this cock and bull and fowlery and doodle-doo?

Well, it’s Rooster, the new Adam Hattaway & The Haunters album and it’s their fourth, would you believe, and it’s a sprawling 22 songs long and three days short of a week to make in McCaw country when an outrageous outburst of creativity saw it all go down before the fox could spoil the hen party. Sublime. 4 Track. 60's.

And that’s where it starts, in the henhouse, and they’re back there again, where all roosters feel cramped up in jail, which might have been where they ended up if the fox had really kept guard, or if the music hadn’t come along. A courageous opening song, like an early Stones ballad with Ian Stewart piano, but no clue as to why, before, (and here we go now), the roosters escape in slowed down Creedence style and go riding down the Clearwater river, fed up with water, and fixing to drown, hardly a redemptive revival. Except here comes a love lost song, in reflective acoustic, a sweet little Honor Lee and the crow is replaced by an almost yodel.

What’s the meaning of all this? Nathaniel Rateliffe swings by, and Jerry Lee meets the Beatles, but if there’s a rooster quest, a cocky crusade, or a poultry paean to times gone by, and whether it’s Jagger or Morrison or Rateliffe or White, the fact that there are so many roosters name checked in here suggests that it’s less of a homage to all rock’s great influencers than a testament to Adam’s ability to interpret and explain his tortured rooster muse.

We have it all, hooks and frills, tumbles and spills, two-minute splurges, but at its core it’s a subtle melange of Rolling Van Morrison Stones with Jack egg White as icing on the straw and sometimes it’s just hard to exist. Except on the road to Atlanta.

The Thing is short and not so sweet .There’s a Cold Cold Wind, there’s a walking away song, but ‘if you’re gonna going to leave, I’m gonna leave with you’ to twist the metaphor; there’s a new version of Barry’s old song, Only Game In Town (which you’re not)) and there’s some brass to make Clint Eastwood cry, and then It’s Too Late (but don’t stop now), because there’s a Blood Moon. There are several just great songs, such as Crime of the Century and Whatever This Is (maybe it’s a rooster).There’s a drinking song and a magnificent epitaph, ‘he was good, he was bad, and he died.’ There are no bad songs. There’s even a song about the rooster, but this time it’s Elmore Jones as a road runner version.

Elmore Jones has the greatest name that isn’t James, and he produces and mixes and plays on this beautiful feast of epic pieces of work alongside his fellow rooster Adam, and the other Haunters include Liam Quinn and Holdyn Skinner and a bunch of other notables like The Fisherman, and Nick Atkinson and Finn Scoles and others whose names will be on the credits if you buy the vinyl or go to Ivory Town and that stuff gets passed around.

There’s blues, rock, rock and roll, country and soul which means, folk, that this is yet another example of Kiwi Americana bringing all chickens home to roost. It’s rough, it’s rambling, its rambunctious, it’s righteous, but it’s real, like a piece de Rembrandt resistance.

Adam Hattaway is crowing up along with the Haunters as a bunch of crazy roosters, and this summer is going to be a humdinger when Rooster hits the road.

And who let Bob Dylan and The Band in through the hatch? Ain’t it his job?

Rooster, it’s out now folks, and cock a doodle doo, it’s a magnum opus of fowl play.

I give it 4.5, but it rounds back to 4. Cock up.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Adam Hattaway & The Haunters

Adam Hattaway and the Haunters (A.H.) are initiating a new generation into the temple of alt rock’n’roll. As a seasoned touring band with three studio albums, A.H. explore personal themes while weaving in universal motifs - star crossed lovers, losers, and lonesome travelers.

Forever shaking hands with heartache, Adam Hattaway lives close to the bone. From his home in Otautahi/Christchurch, he has earned an international reputation for sweltering hooks, high kicks, and raw, emotional narrative. A born front man, he deftly marries 60’s swagger with 21st century sensitivity.

The Haunters are Adam Hattaway (The Eastern, Wurld Series), Elmore Jones (3000AD, Katie Thompson), Liam Quinn, Tess Liautaud, Thomas Isbister (Deep Water Creek, No Broadcast) and Holdyn Skinner.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Adam Hattaway & The Haunters


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Year: 2018
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