Norman Hay, Hay, Make a Wish and Turn Away

Norman Hay, Hay, Make a Wish and Turn Away
Sonic facsimiles abound, and now Norman can add their name to bands like Ok Go and Shout Out Louds, proving that imitation really is the greatest form of flattery. Hailing from Oregon, Norman don't merely recall the Southern West coast sound of Neil Young, they've perfectly captured the simple, steel-harmonica folk tunes of Young at his Harvest-era prime. It's almost as if "Mackerel Sky" and "No Clouds" were missing tracks from Young's 1972 success. There's an obvious hazard of effacing oneself, or even hiding under such emulation, but on songs like "You Were The Sky" and "Broken Hearted," you get a clear view of the band's distinct soul, leaving no doubt that their creative canvas remains uniquely personal. "Broken Hearted" reaches into the depths of our collective memory of loss and insecurity, reigniting our fears of loneliness. Somehow though, like the gentle melody of falling rain punctuated by sunlight, Eric Nordby's affecting timber and hopeful lyrics wrap you in comforting warmth; it's a sweet victory, akin to that of making someone smile through falling tears. It's enough to win over your loyalty, even if you were never partial to Neil Young (if such a thing were possible). Hay, Hay, Make a Wish and Turn Away flows seamlessly. The title-track opener would fit so well as the album's closer that before you notice it you're well into a second or third round. (Timber Carnival)