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Shazy Hade - Triumph Returns Again (Shortwave Records/No Coast Records)

26 May 2024

The past is another country, they do things differently there. That’s what they say. Well, the notion of the past is something that crops up a lot in Shazy Hade’s and this album’s backstory. There is the very recent past when the band got back together after a long hiatus. There is 2008, when these songs were initially recorded and, sadly, subsequently packed away and forgotten about. There is the past of the early 2000s when the band came together, comprised of members of two Madison, WI, stalwarts, Hum Machine and The New Recruits. And then there is the more distant past, where they draw inspiration to colour their songs, namely the 60s—or at least their version of those times.

But the past is only relevant when measured by what comes after it, and Triumph Returns Again is a strange blend of nostalgia and forward-thinking rock and roll. It sounds less like merely a revival of the past but more like a continuation of the story of one alternative strand of music.

That said, there are some songs, such as “Between Winds”, where the influences and infusions are apparent, a blend of acid-pop and psychedelic grooves, and throughout, there are lovely touches of Bowie-esque creativity and drug-fug fruitions. then there are less expected moves such as “Foreign Freak Fridays” which sounds like Johnny Thunders at his tortured solo artist best, “Green Dreams” is a cosmic country band on a cold come down and “Joni Babe” is a squalling, depth-charge bass-driven slice of psych-rock.

But this isn’t a band wallowing in the past and plagiarising and plundering; this is the next chapter in a cool and engaging sonic story.