YOU don’t hear many projects like this one out of Cebu. So maybe it’s time for you to check out Count Jaye & the Hard Beats.
It’s basically a venture of one Jaye Muller, a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and artist with about decades of musical experience. With Count Jaye & the Hard Beats, the medium is rock and roll: tons of layered, in-your-face overdriven guitars coupled with some rambunctious drum work.
The message? It’s hard to figure it out at first. But after the chorus of the opening track “Silly Spill” hits you, it’s then when you realize that this album aspires to be a fun ride. It sure sounds like a choice has been made lifting passion over public perception. And well, that goes for the second track as well— the politically charged “Big TV Star.” We should’ve figured that out earlier with an album name like “Hippo Russian Pickle Giant Blue Disguise.”
“The album title is basically six unrelated words strung together,” Muller said, explaining his state of mind when recently, stories about Russia dominated mainstream news coverages in the United States.
But aside from themes of love and war, Count Jaye & the Hard Beats knows what it wants: release music that makes listeners yearn for that one shot at 120 kph on the Autobahn. And one will definitely get this rush by the time the third track, “You’ll Never Guess What Happened Today,” comes on. The song sounds like AC/DC and Oasis had a love child, and a talented kid at that.
There’s a pit stop right after with the fourth track “Oh My Love” slowing things down a bit. And just like any pit stop at the Formula 1 (boy, do we have a lot of racing analogies on this one, don’t we), the next song (“Them Instead”) throws the listener back into the fast lane. But the album does start to explore softer sides come the second half.
“Hippo Russian Pickle Giant Blue Disguise” is the band’s sophomore release, following “Bandages Cover The Looting” released in 2015.
The album is not without its surprises. Here’s a featured guest for you: Extreme’s Nuno Bettencourt makes an appearance, giving the track “Come Over Here” a face-melter of its own. Almost everything on the record was birthed from Muller’s home studio in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, and Muller played and sang on all the tracks except for the guest roles. Some guests: Andy Chester (My Computer), Adam Marsland (Cockeyed Ghost), Roger Joseph Manning Jr. (Jellyfish), Jack Rieley (The Beach Boys), Ben Patton, Filipino musicians Rio, Michelle Omba, Christian Paul Lagahid, Chuckee Nepomuceno and others.
While I found the initial charm of the songs to be The Beatles-esque, Muller said that his influence spans almost everything and anything melodic, citing acts like The Beach Boys, Queen, Jellyfish and many more.
Aside from the loud guitars and drums, the vast instrumentation and intricate chord progressions should be more than enough to take any listener for a wild ride well worth it. With 12 rock songs clocking in just under 40 minutes, “Hippo Russian Pickle Giant Blue Disguise” is indeed, a record that is meant to be enjoyed loud and fast.