Famous Haydens – there’s a few of them about, and they tend to be found either in sci-fi screen work or cricket. First up you’ve got Ms Panettiere, the photogenic Heroes actress. Then Canadian actor Hayden Christensen, or Anakin Skywalker to Star Wars fans. Then Matthew Hayden comes in to bat, the run-maker held in high regard in his native Australia.
Yet Hayden himself, a 27-year-old singer songwriter from Toronto, could perhaps be equated with one of those stylish batsmen from yesteryear, gathering his runs with a flick of the wrists here, a glance down to fine leg there.
His approach to songwriting has an instant charm, immediately communicative with its pertinent lyrics and winsome melodies. The production has something of a homegrown feel, which isn’t to say it lacks polish – more the feeling that you’re there with him and his band.
Hayden doesn’t hang around, his album done, dusted and wrapped up in 35 minutes, but in the course of that time he lets us in on some poignant asides. The evocative Damn This Feeling observes at its close that “Leaves they are falling, just as I let go of you”, part of a warmly romantic coda.
Elsewhere he enjoys a playful aside or two, making the most of the Chicago toy in the title track, or the trumpet of Where And When. The Van Song also hints at a more humourous side to the songwriter, dropping elements of the melody to I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing. Meanwhile the confused Did I Wake Up Beside You? fills with longing, but isn’t fully sure of itself.
It’s the little touches, the attention to detail and the intimacy of Hayden’s singing voice that lifts this album well above that of the average singer/songwriter. And with Hayden often sounding like he’s in the room with you, this is a record for instant emotional gratification – and lasting satisfaction, too.