Hailing from Rome, Italy, Head and the Hares formed as the Spookies in the late eighties. Fans of sixties garage as exemplified by comps like Back from the Grave, they began by learning covers of their favorite songs. After a few line-up changes, the band began to focus its style, incorporating the folk-rock inspired garage they were hearing on compilations such as New England Teen Scene. They seemingly absorbed the New England sound wholesale, and even borrowed a band name in the process. Thus the Spookies became Head and the Hares and from 1992 to 1995 they released several strong records.
Building on their already solid reputation, the 12 tracks on Autumn Songbook show how the band honed their style to truly capture the essence and innocence of the mid-sixties New England garage sound. The spooky (no pun intended) minor-key chord changes; the wispy organ punctuated by bursts of fuzz; and the vocal harmonies that augment Massimo DiGianfrancesco’s distinctive singing style recall a crisp autumn day. Exhilarating and nostalgic. Sprinkle a few well-chosen covers (“Velvet Illusions,” “Life,” “Never Be Happy,” “Live and Die”) among eight psych-tinged folk-rock originals, and you might just flash back in time. This album comes wrapped in a custom heavy lp jacket reminiscent of the old Capitol covers of the ’60s.