The new long player, Yay For Effort, a solo effort by eclectic and versatile rocker Greg Hoy, reveals piano and acoustic leitmotifs as well as lyrical reflections about recent personal losses, including Hoy’s father, a college bandmate, and his mentor.
Shaped by the vintage Eventide Harmonizer effects unit Hoy picked up when San Francisco’s Tiny Telephone Studio closed, it infuses the album with an array of movable sounds.
Encompassing 10 tracks, Yay For Effort opens with “Oh No,” a melancholic tune riding stripped-down harmonics: drums, bass, and acoustic guitar. The lyrics release raw emotions covered in enflamed scar tissue as Hoy narrates his inner aching pain.
Highlights include the title track, vaguely reminiscent of U2, with its thrumming intensity and descriptive, layered resonance. Drenched in doubt, almost contempt, Hoy’s vocals have a disdainful gloss.
“Believing what they have to say / Even as it breaks you.”
The quasi-jaunty flow of “Today is Not the Day to Die” expresses hints of sadness and optimism at the same time while conjuring up suggestions of The Kinks’ “Sunny Afternoon.” Whereas “Let It All Go Down” recalls Nirvana unplugged, travelling on grungy, visceral surfaces, at once dark and intimate.
“Comfort Vendetta” rolls out on heavier electric guitars riding a tight, straightforward rhythm topped by Hoy’s scratchy, passionate vocals. Because of its retro-rock feel, the track is perhaps the best or second-best track on the album.
The penultimate track, “Silly Me,” features a shadowy guitar backed by trembling, luminous accents as Hoy’s low-slung voice imbues the lyrics with flavours of sternly tested amicability.
Yay For Effort is arguably Greg Hoy’s finest work in a career that spans decades because of its depth of mood and vulnerability.
Yay For Effort Track Listing:
1. Oh No
2. Yay For Effort
3. Listen Up
4. Today is Not the Day to Die
5. Let It All Go Down
6. Fire Drill
7. Comfort Vendetta
8. Lonely Satellite
9. Silly Me
10. Dim Sun (For Everyone)
Run Time: 35:05
Release Date: June 23, 2023
Record Label: 30 Peak