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Hazen Street

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Album Review

Though it sticks tight to its tough guy mythology, Hazen Street's self-titled debut makes some drastic stylistic jumps. Opener "Are You Ready?" is a furious slab of classicist-leaning N.Y.C. hardcore, which isn't surprising considering the presence of Madball vets Freddy Cricien (vocalist) and Hoya (bass) in the Hazen fold. But with big-shot producer Howard Benson involved and a two-vocalist setup that also features H20's Toby Morse, Hazen uses its ammo to blast out everything from hardcore and punk revivalism to vague rap-rock and stuff that exists somewhere between all three. "Fool the World" asserts that, since Cricien's actually been in the hoosegow, any would-be toughs should probably step off. "Written" really has the P.O.D. vibe; it's rap-tinged verses are a sonic cousin to that group's "Boom," and even does a bit of street-level preaching ("It's written like the ink stains on my skin...Only God can judge me...."). "Trouble" recasts the macho stance — "Everywhere we go/Trouble seems to find me" — over a lighthearted chorus that's closer to the mainstream alt.rock of an outfit like Lit. Sure, on Hazen Street, there are more F-words and tattoos. But the crossover intent for "Trouble" and rousing revivalist cuts like "Stick Up Kid" is undeniable. The mantra of past mistakes making the here and now better — or past fights just making Cricien and Morse stronger — covers every inch of the record. It's in the sort-of ballad "Tomorrow" (listen to those harmonized guitars!) and the similarly introspective melodic punk of "Back Home"; it becomes Hazen Street's main landmark, since the band cherry-picks from so many styles. It's a well-played effort with some damn catchy choruses. It's just difficult to figure out where this Street leads.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Hazen Street includes vocalist Toby Morse (H20), vocalist Freddy Cricien, bassist Hoya (Madball), guitarist David Kennedy, and drummer Mackie (Fun Lovin' Criminals). Borne out of an original collaboration between Morse and Kennedy and named for the address of the N.Y.C. prison in which ex-Madball vocalist Cricien did a stint, the band mixed hard-hitting contemporary hardcore with metal, rap-rock, and pop overtones. Hazen Street signed with Benji and Joel Madden's Epic-distributed DC Flag imprint...
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