The press release identifies the players only by their initials – LD, RH, AS, JH, SD - but the main mover behind this mystery music is Liam Palmer, also of Grass House. The album explores his more experimental urge but in a very accessible way, which serves the song. Meanwhile, the band name alludes to the initialled influences that inspire the music - AE Housman, e.e. cummings, SE Hinton - as well as Georges-Eugene Haussmann, the architect who renovated Paris.
The album was put together by LP without any of the musicians coming together in the same space, though he makes clear that he won’t be bound by that model in future. What he’s produced musically strikes the perfect balance between soundscapes and structured songs, catchy and compelling on the one hand but with a depth to the compositions that only reveals its quality over several listens. ‘Old Satellites’ mixes electronic drones with dense guitars and sounds a lot like The National. ‘To The Loveliest Ocean’ is a Cave-esque hymnal, dark and intense, with a sprinkling of gorgeous melody to sweeten the groaning existential angst. ‘As The World Lays Down’ is tender and vulnerable for a couple of minutes before breaking out into something powerful yet understated, with vocals akin to Matt Beringer’s. And the record finishes with the epic six minute drone and doom experimentalism of ‘I Am Here And I Am Cold In The Water’ (water being a recurring theme in the song titles).
The album is released in a limited edition of 20 in unique, hand-painted sleeves which emphasises the conceptual playfulness of the project; based on the quality of this debut, HD Hausmann ought to come out of the shadows and make more music.