Hayes Noble: As It Was, As We Were [Album Review]

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Hayes Noble
As It Was, As We Were
2-2-1 Press [2024]

Album Overview: Hayes Noble, a 19-year-old artist from northwest Illinois now living in Spokane, Washington, first came onto the scene by home recording demos in 2021. Raised in a DIY punk environment with diverse musical influences, Hayes quickly started to make some underground noise. His 2023 debut, Head Cleaner, established his presence in the indie rock scene, garnered more attention, and led to a DIY tour. All things so far for Noble have led to As It Was, As We Were, which is his sophomore album. The full length was recorded by Luke Tweedy two months post-high school graduation and then mastered by Carl Saff. It is a full blend of melodious noise and coming-of-age themes, capturing the essence of teenage experiences and the search for belonging. As It Was, As We Were features many different styles within, but overall it is a solid noise pop album that shows great promise for this young talent.

Musical Style: The album features a fusion of punk rock with indie pop and includes plenty of dynamic and explosive elements, combining feedback-laden sounds, energetic rhythms, and sharp hooks. It blends raw, impassioned vocals with intense instrumentals, creating a vibrant sonic experience that should be heard with the volume up.

Evolution of Sound: From his debut, Head Cleaner, which showcased a heavy, tube-driven sound influenced by shoegaze and post-hardcore, Hayes Noble has progressed to a more refined yet powerful punk rock expression in As It Was, As We Were. The new album emphasizes dynamic songwriting and a balanced mix of noise and melody. As It Was, As We Were is boisterous in all the right places, leaving you wanting more.

Artists with Similar Fire: Bands like Dinosaur Jr., Polvo, Superchunk, and Hüsker Dü come to mind when listening to Hayes Noble’s music, as his style draws from these influential indie and punk rock groups. I also think this record will hit the right nerve with fans of early Wavves, Ty Segall, early King Tuff, Connections, and Car Seat Headrest.

Pivotal Tracks: Key tracks from As It Was, As We Were include the almost six-minute “In Search Of” with its very HUM-like guitar moments that are sprawling. Its vocals sit just below the noise. The closing track “Got Over It” is about still being in love with someone as they move on from the relationship. The best part is that the track is another noisy rocker even with its delicate subject matter. The opening “Escape” is a quick, under two-minute rock-out moment for Noble that sets the path of the record with its big guitars, feedback, and sing-along moments.

Lyrical Strength: The lyrics in As It Was, As We Were are authentic, capturing the youthful angst and introspection of leaving home and facing the uncertainties of the future. Hayes Noble’s words resonate with a sense of sincerity and relatability, creating depth and giving the record an overall lasting impact.

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Thomas Wilde

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