Amongst the crowd the disconnect is sweeter
Another song joins the rank of classic Manics riffs, alongside Glasnost, Motorcycle Emptiness et al.
Hazelton Avenue sounds so wonderfully relaxed. It’s completely without any shade of darkness or anything looming over it, no edges to bump to or hidden tension and desire to roar out. It’s simply an elegant stroll, an anthem of melody and effortlessness. And that’s a good thing. While often interesting or exciting, you don’t need an element of the opposite force all the time. If anything, it’s proof that the band continues to feel rejuvenated in spirit.
That said, it is also much like Postcards in the sense that it’s a very traditionally Manics-esque song. Or rather, a very traditionally Bradfield-esque song. Hazelton Avenue would have fit perfectly on Bradfield’s solo album, both in its style and tone. It’s hard to believe that this isn’t the song on Postcards that James wrote all by himself, so strongly it’s coming from that same well of freedom and desire to simply let melody and harmony talk that The Great Western came from. There is a slight twist in sound in the middle-eight where the song suddenly finds some eastern-inspired strings to provide the backing for the calmer section, which is actually quite nice.
Hazelton Avenue itself is a more-or-less unfamous and uninteresting street in Ontario. The lyrics, with their talk of finding happiness in little things and all that, are probably inspired by the same past travels and nostalgic look on the time behind that much of Postcards tackles with – wouldn’t be too surprised if Hazelton Avenue is another addition to Wire’s catalogue of songs inspired by the places the band has traveled to and the fleeting moments and feelings experienced in them (Valley Boy, Ballad of the Bangkok Novotel, the scrapped cities project, etc).