Like many producers, Hauschild's got some pretty serious musical chops of his own and it shows on his second solo album The Beginning of the Long Dash. The title is a bit of an inside joke for fans of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, of which there are many in Hauschild's fan base.
The album kicks the door down with Bigger than Lennon with a heavy bass and drum track establishing that this album isn't going to be just another quiet singer-songwriter effort. Whether the title track is intended to be self-deprecating humour or a commentary on artists that Hauschild's worked with is open for interpretation.
Hauschild's knack for assembling a good track is demonstrated to good effect on this and several other tracks on the album. You Were on the Radio is an infectious almost perfect hook filled pop song that I more or less couldn't stop listening one day. It's refrain of 'you're a good little song / just a good little can-con song' continues the self-deprecating humour of the first track.
Hauschild doesn't completely eschew the melancholy traditional subject matter of the singer songwriter here, but the album's laments for love lost are hidden nicely in layers of sound that encourage you to listen closely to get the bottom of the story. There's a focus on the past in many tunes, but it's more contemplative and insightful than self-indulgent. "So what's your fucking problem / you're so young but you're over the hill / is it the shoes that you're trying to fill / and you never will" is just one example of some the kind of solid songwriting that's in evidence here.
The ten tracks on the album exhibit just about as many distinct styles. Quieter numbers like Antoinette Leigh sit nicely next to the noisier Bigger than Lennon and the Beatlesque sounds of Why Are You Finished with me Kid? In less capable hands this sort of musical exploration can produce an album that feels disjointed but that's not the case here. Instead, the result is a coherent whole that's greater than the sum of its parts by quite a bit.
Bigger than Lennon, You Were on the Radio and What's Your Fucking Problem are standout tracks in this collection. If I had to second guess the choice of songs I might have sacrificed Always but that's as much a matter of personal taste any anything else, and it works in the album's context quite nicely.
Not everyone can make the transition from behind the mixing board to the front of it this seamlessly. The album brings to mind Daniel Lanois' solo work in that respect: no matter how impressive a body of work that is, it always takes a second place to the producer
label Lanois carries. That may be the case here too. The Beginning of the Long Dash
is an impressive work, and one that deserves to be listened to--but make sure to find the repeat button first, because you're going to need it.
People may always think of Hauschild as a producer first and a singer/songwriter second and if that's so, then so be it. As long as Hauschild continues to do both I'll be happy. His producing talents have been invaluable in building the careers of many Vancouver musicians and it'd be as much of a shame to lose that as it would be to see a follow up to an album this good. For a man as busy as Hauchild it may take a few years, but it's sure to be worth the wait. Highly recommended.