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Archive for July 12th, 2013

Review: Hackamore Brick, “One Kiss Leads to Another”

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Hackamore BrickFor the title of their 1970 album on the Kama Sutra label, the members of Hackamore Brick opined that One Kiss Leads to Another.  One album clearly didn’t lead to another, though, as the four-man Brooklyn band didn’t release more music until 2009 – and even then, with only two of the founding members.  Yet Hackamore Brick’s one and only record has grown in stature over the years, well-regarded in cult circles for its proto-punk, Velvet Underground-like mood.  Real Gone has just reissued One Kiss Leads to Another in a beautifully remastered, expanded edition, revealing it as one cult curio that defies easy categorization.

On One Kiss Leads to Another, minimalist folk-rock guitars coexist with laconic, Lou Reed-meets-country vocals, ragged harmonies, and Doors-like keyboard textures.  As produced by Richard Robinson, it has a lo-fi, primal sound that was in marked contrast to that of the band’s Kama Sutra labelmates.  Tommy Moonlight (guitar/keyboards/vocals), Chick Newman (guitar/keyboards/vocals), Robbie Biegel (drums) and Bob Roman (bass) were signed by Kama Sutra when the label was seeking to diversify from the likes of the 1910 Fruitgum Company and the Ohio Express.  Bubblegum, this is not.

It’s hard to avoid Velvet Underground comparisons, particularly to the group’s self-titled third album.  Yet Hackamore Brick’s songwriting team of Newman and Moonlight claimed to have finished writing before ever hearing of Lou, Maureen, Sterling and company.  Nonetheless, Newman’s dry, deadpan vocals recall Reed’s, while the hypnotic drone of many songs here echoes the Velvets’ approach, too.  As much as the Velvets themselves, though, One Kiss Leads to Another brings to mind disciples like Television and The Modern Lovers.  Hackamore Brick’s simple rock-and-roll circa 1970 sounds, today, almost shockingly ahead of its time, and not too far from today’s crop of low-key indie rockers, either.   But if commercial pop or rock was the aim, it apparently didn’t come easy to Moonlight and Newman.  Much of the album sounds like the work of two creative, energized young men trying hard – and failing – to write pop hits.  (Even The Velvet Underground was pursuing a more accessible direction at the time with the eponymous album and follow-up Loaded.)   Hackamore Brick’s gloriously offbeat failure, though, was unquestionably an artistic success for underground rock.  It’s easy to see why crate-diggers have conspiratorially spoken of One Kiss Leads to Another as a must-listen.

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Written by Joe Marchese

July 12, 2013 at 11:43

Posted in Hackamore Brick, Reissues, Reviews

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