By Mandi Kimes
I made my way downstairs to Barboza to catch Haunted Summer. Fellow writer Ryan Kluge joined me in witnessing a dreamy, lush band whom I certain I will see again.
Haunted Summer started at 9:40 with three new songs back to back. Even though there's maybe about thirty or forty people here, there's lots of conversation happening; which isn’t affecting the sound in the venue, just the look. This new song contains lots of swelling guitars atop a muffled-sounding vocal effect on Bridgette Moody's voice. The venue rumbled with bass, but not in the overpowering way. The bassist actually ended the song playing clarinet, which was super tight and unexpected. The guitars on the song "Dawn of the Day" resembled Real Estate during verses, and then kicked into Metric inspired chorus: driving beat and subtle synth with thumping bass-and-guitar duet.
The third song is a ballad, sounding like Pure Bathing Culture. It's at about this time when I begin to grow anxious for their long-awaited yet-to-be-released new album. The next song "When the Sun’s Out" started like The Cranberries' "In Dreams." The vocal effect on this song seems too much for my personal liking, but I'm sure it sounds great recorded. Watching the bassist's fingers on this song was fun because the fingers on his left hand bent in all different directions to play a beautiful melody.
The way the drummer switches from low-key to upbeat on “Sour Grapes” is flawless. Moody's vocals sound like Pat Benatar's sweet alto range. She wailed during the last part of the song over jangly guitars and the pulsating rhythm section. Guitarist John Seasons dedicated the next song to David Bowie, which began with a clarinet solo over lulled-guitars - almost like floating through space. It's the opening track from their Something in The Water album called "All Around". I love the slowed-down shoegaze feel to it, like the end of a party. This is the song I heard of theirs that reminded me of Beach House; seriously, these guys need to open for Beach House. The track is also very similar to Arcade Fire's "In the Backseat" and "Wasted Hours" mashed together perfectly.
The next song had swirling harmonies, weaving through melodies and crossing each other. The last song they played started sporadically with instruments playing randomly until drums and bass set the tone. Atmospheric guitars and synths drape the rhythm. This song had the tenacity of a Kings of Leon song with Moody's soaring vocals. I'm glad this song is the title track for the new album. It'll make a great single. Just as the song was creating a dreamscape, Moody screamed into the mic, which definitely caught my attention – not sure if good or bad though. This song seemed longer than their other songs, with a lot of repetition, which is another good sign of a single. Just when the song winds down, it builds back up again. Moody screams again, and it's here that I realize I wish they had kept the song in its usual formula. But I appreciated them trying something new. The song ended with a decrescendo with the yelling part looped.
Needless to say, I’m very excited for their new album to finally come out. They will be in my neck of the woods of Phoenix in March, so I will be seeing them again very soon.