Native Angeleno, Jonathan D. Haskell, is ambivalent about the City of Angels. A multi-instrumentalist and studio wunderkind, his Seven Saturdays EP was conceived on the less than sunny climes of Edinburgh’s cobbled streets in between sips of whisky and the nagging realisation in the pit of his doubtless malt-scarred gut that he was doomed to return. Calling on esteemed session players – from the stadium straddling likes of The Pretenders and Smashing Pumpkins no less – Haskell has created a near wordless, succinct and sumptuous pocket-symphony.
Haskell’s movement in music is as slick and as quietly tragic as the city he calls home. Upon first listen, the Seven Saturdays EP feels too much like music for a lifestyle-selling-alcohol advert, in part no doubt informed by the invariably seasoned professionals involved. On repeated listens its depth and true heart become apparent. Opener 'The Shallow End', might rely on familiar post-rock tropes circa 1998 (snatches of phone conversations, Moog burbles and reverb soaked feedback) but they all conspire to evoke a deep sense of yearning. 'Love In The Time Of Anticipated Defeat'’s noir inversion of Los Angeles’ bright lights recalls Vangelis’ Bladerunner soundtrack; the city as disconcertingly alluring dystopia rendered near tangible via placating guitar drones and glistening vibraphone flourishes. 'Good Morning, I Love You' is earnest, stately and conjures images of L.A.’s neon lit, plastic metropolis. 'Secret Things' could be the kind of bland departure lounge Musak piped into LAX but there’s a knowing cello riff to keep you intrigued enough to revisit the song more than once.
With left-field music awash with hazed out, nostalgia driven artists what sets Seven Saturdays E.P. apart is it’s pristine production values. Indeed, Haskell’s love/hate letter to Los Angeles is easy to admire, rather hard to truly love. And if that’s the point, then it’s one sublimely made.
7Rich Hanscomb's Score