The Old Haunts | Poisonous Times (Kill Rock Stars)

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cd_old-haunts.jpgThe fat and fuzzy bass-heavy guitar of the title track makes me immediately think of Kill Rock Stars labelmates and fellow residents of the Northwest, The Gossip, but with male vocals instead of Beth Ditto's soulfulness.

 

 

The Old Haunts know what they're doing. Listening to their third full-length album, Poisonous Times, it's obvious that this often garage-sounding band has experience. The album is full of tightly written songs with good instrumentation. This being said, it falls flat of reaching for anything new, and while I imagine the band is good to listen to live, I don't really get much out of their songs. Poisonous Times is not something I would crave to listen to, but it is enjoyable with a few standout tracks.

This three piece and its rotating cast of drummers has landed on Tobi Vail (most known for being the drummer of Bikini Kill). The other two members of the band are Craig Extine and Scott Seckington; both of whom have been in their fair share of bands. Hailing from Olympia, Wash., The Old Haunts share a similar sound to a number of the other indie bands from the Pacific Northwest as well other Kill Rock Stars artists. White Stripes comparisons, although redundant, are inevitable.

The first track, "Volatile," sets the stage for the album. Although the modern garage sound is present, the song kind of operates like a poppy '70s punk song. I really have no idea what's going on lyrically. Extine's yelping, vibrato-heavy vocals are somewhat hard to understand at times, but this doesn't take away from the song. This is nothing we haven't heard before, but it's solid, good, and fun.

The fat and fuzzy bass-heavy guitar of the title track makes me immediately think of Kill Rock Stars labelmates and fellow residents of the Northwest, The Gossip, but with male vocals instead of Beth Ditto's soulfulness.

The '70s get cranked up on "Hung up on the Upside." With Marc Bolan-esque vocals and acoustic guitar, this slow ballad could almost be a T. Rex song. The lyrics on this song, for the first time, are pretty clear and, with lines like "Spit up what you hate in yourself," more jaded and bitter than I expected.

A well-crafted, if not highly original album, Poisonous Times is often a fun listen with that (sometimes) ass-shaking sensibility shared with other bands of their geographic region. C+ | Jaffa Aharonov

RIYL: The Gossip, White Stripes, T. Rex

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