Norway - Full Moon 182 - 07/15/11
Your Headlights Are On
Your Headlights Are On
Your Headlights Are On (YHAO) is a quintet based in Trondheim. The combo - Ingrid Helene Håvik (vocals), Lars Ove Fossheim (guitar), Hans Hulbækmo (drums and percussion), Heiða Karine Jóhannesdóttir Mobeck (bass and tuba) and Anja Lauvdal (Wurlitzer and synth) - perform experimental, sort of contemplative art-rock. Even though their self-titled album hit the streets some moonths back (in March more precisely): better late than never.
The creative souls of YHAO reside at the Dayladore Collective label, and - as a result of being young, creative and productive - Lauvdal, Hulbækmo and Jóhannesdóttir Mobeck are also to be found as members of the acclaimed group The Avalanche. Anyway, YHAO started out (as a trio) in 2008. Three years on they're playing many a festival this summer, after putting out their debut album. An album holding both alt/indie rock as well as jazzy steps. Your Headlights Are On opens with "Cold Mountain", a song with an effected and affected spooky guitar underlining the adventurous and dramatic vocals of Håvik. Influences could be Sigur Ros (the dreamy moods and soundscapes), Radiohead, leaning towards the shoe-gaze palette in attitude. Plus Fleetwood Mac, as well as Sonic Youth's more experimental side. One could also possibly tag YHAO post-rock or 'post' something else. Plus some (ambient/chilled) jazz inspiration. "What Are Days For" is one of those songs. Jazzy moods, chill-down vocals, plus guitar garnish.
Your Headlights Are On is 11 tracks, total playing time close to 55 minutes. This means many of the songs stretch for over 5 minutes ("Drink Gone Dead (Wank-song)" is clocking in at 10'30, and it's a cool track), which is quite ok for me. My thing is; an album should really be 'something' when crossing the 40-45 minute limit. Like I always say: less is more, kill some darlings. The closing "Winter Sundays" is one of the best, being quite calm and pleasant, mostly vocal'n'piano driven.
Nevertheless, its an exciting and impressive debut. Even though it's not flawless. Some more solid, substantial songs, and YHAO's future could be more shiny. And, well, I'm always weak for a band with a tuba in the line-up.
Copyright © 2011 Håvard Oppøyen