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Let Ya Hair Down!
Label: Citadel Records (Australia)
Catalogue No: (CITCD705)
Format: CD (cardboard gatefold)
Released: April 14th 2023
Price: $ 18.00

The On and Ons - Let Ya Hair Down! cover
Album number five, Let Ya Hair Down!, finds The On and Ons exploring new sonic textures and invoking a slightly tougher approach. The hook-laden song-writing, lockstep playing and uplifting harmonies remain intact, but there's a sense of the band pushing fresh envelopes, too.

If you don't know already, The On and Ons feature singer/songwriter/guitarist Glenn Morris, his brother Brian Morris (drums/vocals) and bassist Clyde Bramley. The band is based in Sydney and their combined pedigree includes recording and touring internationally with Hoodoo Gurus, Screaming Tribesmen, Kings of the Sun, and Paul Collins Beat.

Let Ya Hair Down! continues on from the well-received previous releases Calling (2015), Welcome Aboard (2017), Menacing Smile (mini-album 2020), and Back For More (2021). File under Rock or Power Pop! 

Back story done, what's it sound like? 

A bed of keys, touches of bubble-gum and country guitar twang may sound like strange bedfellows but they're in perfect synch on the title track, which opens the record.

Sunny Jim stirs swampy water with some stealthy, Creedence-inspired choogling before Glenn's keening vocal tips the song into sunny pop.

The Savager is pure rock swagger wearing a Carnaby Street suit and carrying a pop calling card. Glenn's muscular guitar lines and peppery licks propel the tune while the rhythm section nails things to the floor.

Games People Play is arguably the centrepiece of the album. The ‘60s jangle pop that's always been an influence has never been more apparent and the song is an instant classic.

Clyde's bass announces Run To Tomorrow, the hardest-edged song of the dozen. Brian stays in the rhythmic pocket with Clyde. Overdubbed organ and a martial drum pattern punctuate a mid-song change of pace and its outro. The arrangements are thoughtful on the album but especially so on this one.

Next is the bustling Forlorn, a song that throttles along and then turns on a dime. Glenn gets to show off his chops in the unlikely event of the the band's trademark harmonies not winning you over. Expansive guitar makes a mark in Give Me Time but the song was always going to stake its claim on typical On and Ons territory. That would be pop with power.

Withering fuzz guitar and layered harmonies make Lovin' Soul shine like the simple and simply effective pop rocker it is. Glenn's lead vocal is nicely understated but ultimately, it's the sum of its parts.

Brian's kick drum calls It's Not Over to the party and its piano and vocals recall Revolver period Beatles (a descriptor not used lightly) without a hint of larceny. It's '60 debt is obvious but it is truly The On and Ons doing their own thing.

Moody organ and a mellifluous bass-line push With Your Heart in a different direction with its lyrical allusion to falling rain and surrendering to love. Patriot continues the detour into psych pop, with Brian's rippling toms punctuating a song that has a more complex structure than its peers. Guitar builds and recedes behind those soaring harmonies.

Winter Shade brings the record back to more familiar turf; a call and response vocal and hook in the tail leads to a fade-out.

Let Ya Hair Down was mixed and partially recorded at Sugarplum Studios, Sydney, Australia, by Richard Ball, in-house sound engineer at Marrickville Bowling Club, the band's fave live music venue in the heart of what Time Out magazine has called one of the two coolest neighbourhoods in Australia! Who are we to argue?

The album was mastered by the legendary Don Bartley of Benchmark Mastering.

Craig Barman - The I-94 Bar

On and Ons on Facebook
Tracklisting: (39:13 m:s)
  1. Let Ya Hair Down (2:24 m:s)
  2. Sunny Jim (3:25 m:s)
  3. The Savager (2:24 m:s)
  4. Games people Play (2:46 m:s)
  5. Run To Tomorrow (2:33 m:s)
  6. Forlorn (2:59 m:s)
  7. Give Me Time (2:42 m:s)
  8. Lovin' Soul (2:27 m:s)
  9. It's Not Over (2:34 m:s)
  10. With Your Heart (3:10 m:s)
  11. Patriot (3:22 m:s)
  12. Winter Shade (2:47 m:s)

        *All Songs Glenn Morris
Technical Credits
Glenn Morris - Lead vocals, Guitars
Brian Morris - Drums, vocals
Clyde Bramley - Bass, Vocals, Keyboards

Produced by Clyde Bramley and Glenn Morris
Mixed by Richard Ball at Sugarplum Studio
Mastered by Don Bartley at Benchmark Mastering