Record Review: Gauntlet Hair

by | Jan 10, 2012 | Reviews

Gauntlet Hair
Gauntlet Hair
Denver, CO

“Jagged guitars propelled through dissonance”

On their self-titled debut, Gauntlet Hair reaffirms their echo-y, disheveled, bombastic rock sound, which as lead singer and guitarist Andy R. says, was the goal.

“We wanted to really hone and maintain solidarity with that sound on this record,” he explains. So, what is that sound? Maybe it’d be best described as organic Animal Collective with way more soul and spunk.

The Denver duo is originally from Chicago, which also could explain their sound. Armed mainly with their guitars and drums, Gauntlet Hair delivers on their debut. While the album offers up several variations on their distinct sound, a few tracks really stand out. That’s not a slam, either. Overall the record is solid – better than solid, really. It’s just that songs like “Mop It Up” with its catchy chorus, booming bass and drums and “Top Bunk” are just a few levels above the rest.

The aforementioned song “Top Bunk” – one of two songs released to promote the album – especially highlights the band’s ability to do what they do best: propelling through dissonance and jagged guitar lines into a mucky, yet beautiful break down.

Other highlights include “Keep Time,” the catchiest tune on the record, “Lights Out,” which, while it still straddles the volume redline, shuffles along into an excellently cool chorus. It’s also peppered with fun fills from drummer Craig Nice. Perhaps my favorite song on the album, “Showing,” is a perfect closer. The band is a little more willing to ease up a bit, letting the melody flow and shine through a catchy, soaring chorus. Do yourself a favor and pick this up. That’s it. (Dead Oceans)