Gauntlet Hair: Gauntlet Hair Review
The sounds unfurling out of Gauntlet Hair’s debut release reverberate and echo like they were birthed out of bowels of an endless cavern. Every guitar whip, vocal burst, keyboard stroke and snare snap sounds as if they’re bouncing of walls like a distant ricocets – ones that have been permanently amped up to 11. Like their earlier singles, the Denver duo, consisting of are consistently on full blast and it remains that way throughout the entirety of their self-titled debut. It’s been a couple years in the making, with the duo’s first singles surfacing in early 2009. With the debut, Gauntlet Hair put together a dynamic set of songs that shows them working beyond the confides of their bombastic singles.
The formula that goes into the bulk of GH’s output requires layers upon layers upon layers of reverbed guitars and bombastic, hard-hitting snares and bass kicks. It’s a controlled Wall of Sound that at the same time feels like it could rattle itself apart at any moment of any song. They flirt with this self-destruction by bringing their songs to the absolute sonic brink and then cast them into infinity. But at their core these are all pop songs. While the music itself throws an avant gar pitch, the vocal harmonies and melodies always keep pop structures in mind. The only bad thing about the formula is its consistency: if you don’t like the sound in the first 15 seconds into the album, you probably won’t like what comes after. It’s all or nothing – and it’s what hurts the album in the end.
The album breaks open with the early single “Keep Time,” a track that, as stated before, serves as a precursor to what the rest of the album will sound like. There are the lofty, eroding guitar chimes, high vocal harmonies and glass-shattering snares and big beat percussion thumps. For the type of ava pop the band goes for, almost all of the songs are very dance-y. “My Christ” is one of the standouts and is direct in its vocal yelps and brashness. While a song like “Showing” shows the duo at their tamest and most intimate. It’d be too easy, and quite a cop out, to align the duo with Animal Collective even though the comparisons are pretty much undeniable. Though the group certainly makes nods to the experimental group, they also have their own unique sound peculating within their debut. I think the band is going to have to progress past their influences to gain traction in the future, but from the debut alone it seems like they have the talent to do so.