Hailer were a Sydney band that we loved and enjoyed working with. Hailer’s astounding and unexpected 2013 album Another Way is as strange as it is familiar. For this band, stalwarts of the Sydney scene and yet somehow still…outsiders, it was a twisted and unpredictable path from their 2010 debut album to thatrecord, which was released in March 2013. In 2015, the band finally called it quits, as the three key songwriters now live in different countries. 

The two years between their albums saw Hailer grow exponentially as a live band and as song writers, yielding a bounty of material to explore in the studio. Although the psychedelic rock / pop influences of the band’s debut album Good Canyon are recognisable, Another Way was a sizeable departure. From the paranoid and dark “Spooky Clams”, to the acoustic sentimentality of “Bright Lights”, the joyous and upbeat “Anyway I Can” and the raw power of “Blue Star” and “Postcard”, the mood of the record shifts with songs taking on multiple personalities fused together by atmospheric motifs.

With the addition of guitarist and engineer Pete Beringer, Hailer opened up to new possibilities. The pressure of high priced studios and the invisible hand of “pay by the hour anxiety” were gone. In January 2012 in Sydney, Australia, the band took the clocks off the walls and allowed time for experimentation and deconstruction in Pete’s studio compound. Progress was rapid – spirits were high. Only a matter of weeks later, Pete, who engineered the album, badly broke his shoulder. Delays to livelihood and album progress ensued by way of surgery, sling and analgesics…the chips were down. After 6 months of recording, editing, dubbing and mixing – the band was at a loss at how to finish the album.

As luck would have it, a recommendation from a mutual friend in New York City led them to Nick Stumpf, musician and producer whose credits include French Kicks, Caveman and Coke Weed. Mixing began in August 2012 and the collaboration was seamless. Nick’s patented ethereal sound was countered by the directness of the music resulting in a lush sounding record that remains at the “front of your ears”. It’s a heady concoction, a swirling and intoxicating body of work that is literate, mature, confident and completely addictive, and it sounds like nothing else around at the time, and is still fresh now.

In September 2013, Hailer packed their gear and went on tour in the US – for three months! Over 40 shows, thousands of miles in the van, through dozens of cities and towns from Texas to Boston to Chicago to Florida and all points in between, they blew minds and broke hearts with a mesmerising live show that delivered passion and excitement in equal doses. Along the way, they found time to record another set of songs in Austin TX with acclaimed producer Louie Lino (Nada Surf, matt pond PA) at his Resonate studios.

Spooky Clams” breathes to life in less than 30 seconds, its thickly reverberating guitar matching colorful vocals that alternate between entranced crooning and ferocious spoken-word, the latter comparable to The Fall’s Mark E. Smith and his tendency for ravenous climaxes. The hushed verse vocals – and the excellent “caught in the motorcade” bridge” – are more reminiscent of The Auteurs’ Luke Haines, especially with the notable use of reverb… I’m really looking forward to Another Way.” (Obscure Sound, USA)