Space Heater

Charity would have Liam Hayes painted a perfectionist. Romance would declare him a genius. Logic would merely declare him a lazy bastard ...

CHARITY WOULD HAVE LIAM Hayes painted a perfectionist. Romance would declare him a genius. Logic would merely declare him a lazy bastard.

Whatever the epithet, The Man Who Is Plush has taken the best part of three years to produce naff all. There was the single ‘Found A Little Baby’, a George-Harrison-goes-psych swooner that made High Llamas fans cry. There was ‘No Education’, a piano-drenched take on the above. And then there was nothing. For ages.

That is, until ‘More You Becomes You’ – and by the Holy Sandbox of Brian Wilson, we should be thankful because it’s completely bloody gorgeous. Namechecks are obvious. Hayes knows his Jimmy Webbs from his Nick Drakes and it’s this love affair with The Swoon and The Croon that gushes from every groove. [I]”I didn’t know life was so sad”[/I],[I] [/I]he wavers as ‘Virginia’ opens the floodgates on much mournful pianos, sweeping arrangements, plaintive confessionals, scale-happy harmonies but, above all, promise.

Rather than the electric arrangements of his debut single, ‘More You Becomes You’ relies solely on Hayes installed at his joanna with one take’s worth of tape to fill. A shame, given Hayes’ previously demonstrated skills with his orchestral head on, but even with its simplicity and its foul-ups – Hayes giggling mischievously as he misses the high notes of a delicate ‘(I Didn’t Know) I Was Asleep’ – it’s never anything but lovely. Fragile, yes. Tentative, certainly. But, as with the similarly morose Spain or Elliott Smith’s nascent output, look at the sketches closely enough and you could just uncover a masterpiece – and with voice cracking and pianos quietly soaring, ‘The Sailor’ and ‘(See It In The) Early Morning’ are sublime cases in point. Mind, it could’ve been so much more. Tentative geniuses are all well and good, but when we’ve already had a whiff of genuine greatness, half a measly hour can’t help but disappoint.

That said, Hayes certainly has it in him to deliver. In the meantime, sit back and bask in not so much what could’ve been, but what will be. See you in three years.