Staubgold / Digital 4 CD/DL / Analog 4 LP (2010)
Apparently residing somewhere between Sesame Street and Sunset Boulevard, in a building that’s part Heartbreak Hotel and part Pee Wee’s Playhouse, Hassle Hound proffer dayglo audio animations and melancholic, cinematic avant-noir. Born In a Night sees them continue their effervescent assault on bland Ikealectronica and insipid samplers. In this, their follow up to the critically acclaimed ‘Limelight Cordial’, Hassle Hound integrate kindergarten kitsch with moodier psychedelicate moments, documenting a celestial domesticity with eccentric but compelling instrumentation and intriguing ideas. Their irreverent and eclectic approach results in a collection of complex, yet cohesive songs each with its own idiosyncratic sonic identity. Their curious blend of sampled sounds, field recordings, electronic noises and live instruments creates a simultaneously sophisticated and naïve seduction. Angelic melodies tussle with radiophonic dexterity, digital caresses, analogue whispers and jolly anarchy.
“What a pleasure! Twisted pop, highly electronified, sample-rich, satirical, charmingly strange…”
Monsieur de Lire Journal d’écoute
“…Glasgow’s Hassle Hound is just the type of group to inject some much-needed life into lap-pop, creating a swirling fun house of melody and whimsy on second album Born In A Night. Showcasing a fascinating and often quite fun array of ambient layers, sonic stimuli and melodic mischief, Born In A Night connects the dots between Tunng’s graceful synth-folk and Fog’s early oddball experiments. The album’s first track, “Oropendula” juxtaposes a Spaghetti western whistle, sci-fi bleeps, a one-chord guitar strum and reverb-laden vocals that, when combined, make for something almost more eerie than silly. Yet “Metropolitan Tower” takes on a slightly more conventional approach, though one still characterized by quirk and defiance of convention. Metal squeaks and Atari video game sounds adorn a pretty and elegant melody made slightly danceable. Meanwhile “Hit It And Trip Up and Cherub and Sing” marries old-timey ragtime rhythms to click-clacking percussion and a chorus of female voices. However, the factory shuffle of “Everything Turns” would be far more melancholy and desolate, were it not for the recurrent plod.
Born In A Night seems almost bipolar in its movement between cartoonish, off-the-wall sounds and somber, atmospheric melodies. Frankly, if Hassle Hound were a person, I’d be a little worried about his state of being. But as a musical outlet, Born In A Night proves continually fascinating, revealing numerous aspects of their personality frequently in just one song. This is, by all means, a very strange record, but it’s a good strange, and the best kind of confusion music can offer”.
Jeff Terich, Treblezine
“…this Glasgow trio create music that has a ramshackle immediacy masking a complexity of sounds, ranging from field recordings to spoons, making up the mess. Singer Ela Orleans manages to wring ennui and joy from her odd, compact vocal range. Multi-instrumentalists Tony Swain and Mark Vernon shift from guitar, bass, drums and laptop to odd little twinkly things as the mood hits. In the field of naïve-yet-savant musicians (say, Maher Shalal Hash Baz or Pastels), Hassle Hound may be reaching furthest outwards”.
Eric Hill, Pop Rocks
“With this new album, Staubgold carve their reputation a little bit deeper as a label for good quality popmusic. The opening ‘Oropendula’ is straight away a killer song. It’s not easy to beat that. Hassle Hound play popmusic, but one that is a curious mixture of styles. The singing is most of the times folk like, but there are elements of electronica and laptop doodling around here too, no doubt thanks to Vernon’s input. Based on samples as well as playing their instruments themselves makes a very strange version of popmusic, but also a very coherent one. A unity in diverseness, if you can imagine such a thing. … A true pleasure this one, excellent summer music”.
Fraans de Waard, Vital Weekly