The Edmonton Alberta Canada progressive rock outfit The New Haunts gave me a bit of a blast from the past as I tracked through their self-titled debut The New Haunts. The eight tracks on The New Haunts reminded me of the emo-indie scene that I grew up with in high school and early college. I’m talking bands like Cap n’ Jazz, Jimmy Eat World and the Promise Ring to name just a few.
The opening track, “Trigger” is a perfect example of this loose style of guitar driven indie-pop melodies coupled with on the march drums and extra layers of guitars that slowly build to a crescendo of pleasantly poppy washed out rock that would be played at Banana Republic or the Gap many years after it came out and places like that finally caught up to what was cool years before.
The next tune “Writing on the Wall” is even friendlier with its quiet-loud-quiet structure and layers of vocals and shimmery guitars which together produce that perfect emotive vibe that makes ears tune in and listen. In other words it’s a catchy guitar riff with a repetitive vocal melody which lulls the listener into a sort of dream state and becomes very hard to shake out of it once it starts bouncing around in the old brain.
The slow-to-loud build of guitar-centric rock continues on “Room to Grow” which is a title I find almost written in a sort of irony. Here we find all the trace elements of “radio rock” from the past two-decades.
The New Haunts take a break from rocking to show off their shy side on “Something Quiet” a slow and sparkling ballad that lures one in with its watery guitar work. This formula doesn’t work quite so well on the messy “Yours.”
The New Haunts return to their old haunts of guitar driven slow-rock for “Yes/No” and follows that pattern of slow build ups to the wantonly-clean rocking the band seems to strive for at every chance they get. The production value of The New Haunts is the record’s high point. Though the songs aren’t the most original in scope, whoever was manning the controls here definitely knew what a radio-friendly pop record should sound like.
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