I never cease to be amazed by the one-man-band. I mean, it’s difficult enough to get competent with a single instrument in order to write and perform a song, but when one is competent with multiple instruments AND recording techniques? Well, to me that’s always commendable, whether I’m a fan of the music or not.
Ambassador Hazy is the solo recording project of Sterling DeWeese, who, according to his Bandcamp bio, was in a ‘slew of obscure bands’ before starting Ambassador Hazy. The Traveler, the second album released under DeWeese’s Ambassador Hazy project, sounds, well, like one might guess it would with a name like that. The Traveler fluctuates between 60s style garage-psych, and trippy, folky leanings.
Opener Modes Of Transport splits the difference between The Seeds and the weirder side of The Pretty Things. Fuzzed-out leads, and echo-y lo-fi vocals set the scene perfectly, as DeWeese does an excellent job of transporting the listener to 1967 here on this psychedelic ride. Simple Thing keeps the late 60s garage/psych flowing as smoothly as a hot, lava lamp, with a bouncier attack, and mega-fuzzed-out guitar work throughout.
Here Nor There introduces a slightly darker, more introspective side to Ambassador Hazy. DeWeese’s guitar work are notable on this weird little track. Ambassador Hazy shifts into the aforementioned folky side on All We Wanted as DeWeese gets his acoustic, Led Zeppelin lll, on. His chord choices reminding me an awful lot of the back half of Zep lll, Tangerine in particular.
Gone To My Head meanwhile gets the rock back on, but strangely enough, I felt this song didn’t go where I thought it was going to, the inro and build are compelling, but DeWeese somehow loses me with his chorus. It’s not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but I felt the song was in prime sequencing position for a garage-stomper, certainly from the introduction, but that doesn’t materialize, instead achieving a melancholy vibe to my ears. Any gripes are rectified with the 60s rockers Take The Sour With The Sweet as DeWeese drops some pretty impressive guitar freak-outs throughout, and the trippy, rocking, bouncing Same Old Ways.
Afterglow is an acoustic palette-cleanser, complete with pretty killer lead flourishes over the top. Don’t Smash It To Pieces is another mid-tempo, lo-fi rocker, that for some reason makes me think of early 90s Sonic Youth. The highlight of The Traveler for this reviewer was the trippy, almost-album-closer Percolator. A dusty-sounding, surf-ish guitar is laid out over a distorted, thumping, electronic beat, as the song rolls along, conjuring up a sense of vast loneliness, as if driving through the desert at night. In fact, Percolator sounds just like one would imagine it would, with DeWeese’s echo-y, surf-y guitar, really putting the cherry on the top of this track. The Last Hurrah brings The Traveler to a close, again sounding exactly like its title, and featuring some pretty killer guitar work from DeWeese.
Cardinal Fuzz has put out some pretty cool heavy/psych, and they continue to do so with DeWeese’s Ambassador Hazy. The Traveler is a cool, trippy, psychedelic record, that scratches that late 60s psychedelic/garage itch, made all the more eyebrow-raising as it’s the work of one man.
Scribed by: Martin Williams