Max Hay 

Another Flea

Another Flea, the first studio album in seven years from globe-trotting troubadour (and Helena native/former Missoulian) Max Hay is an interesting ride. Hay flirts with reggae, country, bossa nova and folk styles throughout, with varying results. The title track sets up a rollicking groove with bluesy harmonica embellishments, and the slow country drawl of "What Happened" fits Hay's baritone nicely, bolstered by elastic electric guitar lines courtesy of Jason Guthmiller. "Dogbite Moon" excels as a subtle, Tom Waits-y ballad, but gets overpowered in the second half by high-gain guitar, and the messy musical commentary on "Timmick Graw's Goatee" gets bogged down by unintelligible sound effects. The horrific slide whistle ending of the Zappa-esque "Career Objectives" is played for laughs, but the novelty quickly wears thin.

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Most musicians are best experienced live, and Hay is likely no exception. While his latest album sounds like he may have had too many studio toys to play with, live videos of these songs indicate they translate well to his one-man show. Listening to Another Flea may leave you confused, but if you can appreciate off-kilter musical endeavors, you'll enjoy seeing him the next time he comes around.

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