Album Review: Dave Hause – Kick

Hause delivers an emotionally charged record with Kick. 

Dave Hause’s new album Kick that will be released on 12 April through Rise Records and kicking was the very first thing he saw his recentlynewborn twins do, it’s also something he has been much throughout his life and career. With the latter spanning over two decades, his songs have always been a quest for personal survival – about pushing through against the odds. But some of his perspective shifted dramatically after the 2016 US elections.

While initially believing that the election created an Us vs Them attitude, he eventually realised that it’s more about people just trying to survive. Which is where Hause and his brother and bandmate Tim Hause really dug in.

The album kicks off with a life-affirming scream-like shout, repeated a few times, which in many ways represents the first sign of life every single person gave after being born. But more than that, it’s also a battle cry – that life is worth fighting for. Eye Aye I takes right into that signature Dave Hause sound, and with the relatable lyrics we just instantly fall head over heels – AGAIN. The track takes a look back on Hause’s life and behaviours as a young adult as he shouts “I used to be bold”.

The album’s lead single The Ditch is a little more upbeat but addresses Dave and Tim’s own mental health head on, marking the first time in their careers to openly write about their struggle with depression.

The track is followed by second single Saboteurs, which carries a lot more of a gloomy and eery feel to it with some heavy drums and hauntingly beautiful riffs. It’s one of the songs on Kick where Hause explores a slightly new sound, but it works. The riff-heavy tune is a doomsday love song about being the defactors that fight for what they believe in, and honestly it’s the kind of love we all want! Civil Lies continues the road down of a more experimental sound for Hause.

There’s a wonderful old school rock’n’roll sound carrying throughout Weathervane. It’s anthemic chorus, in fact the whole track makes you want to pick up your dancing shoes, we actually find it quite hard writing this sitting down… *little dance at the desk with Weathervane turned up loud* … Right, where were we? Ah yes, next song.

Warpaint takes things back a notch, or two, with a dark theme and haunting melody. Speaking of a plague of biblical proporsions and addressing the struggles for women in America and across the globe. “Keep your warpaint on, the street lights all burnt out … you got your keys between your fingers as if you had a choice.” Hause songs with a strained and desperate voice that makes this song even more heartbreaking. If you’re feeling emotionally overwhelmed, you’re not the only one. Expect goosebumps, increased heart rate, and if you’re a woman, expect a tear or two (or three…).

Time to pick it back up – OMG is another rebel love song that talks about the divide in society and how different opportunities are available to you depending on what class you were born into. The track ends with Hause shouting “Oh My God!”.

As a soft and touching track from the upcoming collection, Fireflies is an ode to youth, a simpler time and summer on the east coast. It’s lightness and gorgeous guitar melodies makes you want to roll down the windows and drive into the sunset. “We’d lie under the fireflies and drink a box of wine, long before you wanted more and this whole world its mind.” Hause sings before he dives into the chorus. But it’s not the big, unattainable love that the big pop songs talk about. It’s the Springsteen-esque honest romance about wanting to create a better life for the one you love, and add a little romance to life. “Would you meet me there tonight, I don’t want nothing but your hand in mine.” How is that not the best yet simplest thing to hear?!

Paradies requires you to put your dancing shoes back on and shake your booty. Classic Dave Hause sound and honest lyrics, this is exactly the kind of stuff we can’t wait to hear live on his UK tour next month.

How are we already at the end of this album? Right, so fair little warning, you may feel a little disappointed at this stage. Not because of the last track, that is amazing, but because you just don’t want Kick to end, ever. But let’s dive into Bearing Down, the album closer. It leaves the listener with another taster of Dave’s experimenting with some new sounds. More importantly though, it addresses the mental health struggles that have taken so many people’s lives including Hause’s close friend and Frightened Rabbit front man Scott Hutchinson. His tragic passing prompted the brothers to write about finding – and coming back to – a sense of meaning and purpose again after going through their own battles. You can feel the weight of this in the song, and we’ll admit that we haven’t stopped crying no matter how many times we listen to this. What’s beautiful about the track is that as it goes on, it sees the light at the end of a dark tunnel, that sometimes finding someone to live for is what it takes “Thought the Golden Gate would be beautiful / hate the height but its a hell of a view / just wanna dive, leave it all behind / but now there’s you.” Chills.

Kick doesn’t sugarcoat anything – Hause addresses personal problems or global challenges head first. The album is not just a musical step forward for the singer, but also a powerhouse of lyrical cathersis. “There is comfort in desperation when you know that other people experience it too, and together you can both sing it and sing through it,“ Hause says. ”As I listen back, I hope the album offers more comfort than desperation. I hope we got that balance right.”

The year is young but we’re calling it – Kick is 100% in our top ten records of the year, and it’ll be tough to kick it off the throne.

You can see Dave Hause at the following dates:
10 May – Scala London
11 May – Bodega Nottingham
12 May – Oran Mor Glasgow
13 May – WorLmans Club Dublin
14 May – Gorilla Manchester
15 May – Thekla Bristol