Haunting Hands is a recording project started in 2019 by two musicians called Tung and Dyllan. Apparently they were in punk bands together while they were in college in Rapid City, South Dakota. They graduated and drifted apart but now they try to make music from Rapid City, SD and Denver, CO. The duo have done that quite successfully on their six-song eponymous release Haunting Hands.
They mention, “the EP is based around the themes of therapy, loss, self-acceptance, self-sabotage and being a work in progress.” I will say these songs certainly have a sense of apprehension and perhaps even dread. It reminded me of the album Drum's Not Dead by Liars in terms of tone at points.
It starts with “The Therapist's Chair” which does set the mood. You hear what sounds like an animal crying in the background as a dark bass line and pads come into the mix. The song soon revolves around haunting vocal harmonies and whispers. I would say there is a nightmarish quality to the vocals in this song.
They become more of a band on “Polar Reactions.” There is a mix of Joy Division type post-punk mixed with some intense feedback towards the end. It's also pretty catchy. “Nancy” could be the highlight. I loved this song. It is dark, ominous and also infectious. There are some great grooves and the subdued vocals are right on the mark. I have to point out that these lyrics are pretty fantastic - “Shutter in my broken bones / Feel like I’ve always been alone / Sinking in my black worn out chair / Feeling like I’m going nowhere.”
They become a noise band on “The Therapist's Chair (Reprise)” which is distorted and jarring. “Call to the Void” is another highlight. The band goes big here. It's somewhere between shoegaze and ’90s alternative. I was reminded of Smashing Pumpkins. “I Need You to Listen / Thank You for Listening” is a great landing to the album. It’s perhaps the most haunting song and they make great use of reverb here.
I really enjoyed this release. It’s cohesive and delightfully dark. Take a listen.
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