Monday, June 14, 2010

Album Review: Haunted Stereo – Cross The Sea EP

It’s funny how things work sometimes. I first came across Lewis Ford while he was a member of the lovely Little Green, an English band I once featured in a column I wrote for the excellent, dearly departed Loose Record blog. Happily, he’s branched out into making more wonderful music, this time at the helm of Haunted Stereo. It’s somewhat interesting that Ford should now be playing in a band called Haunted Stereo, because the music on the Cross The Sea EP is nothing if not a little haunting.

From the first note, I was utterly transfixed. “Cross The Sea” is a great first impression, eerie and warm and nostalgic all at once. The boy-girl harmonies are poignantly impassioned, and the overall pastoral feel of the accompanying instrumentation captivates. Perhaps it’s the power of suggestion at work, but the song reminds me of a cold, grey day at the shore, wind whipping and steely blue waves churning and foaming and a gentle mist filling the air with tears. And somehow, that’s incomparably beautiful.

“I tried so hard to be good,” Ford proclaims, almost defeated, in the almost forlorn “To Be Good”, and there are many of us who can relate to that line that’s for damn sure. I adore the ebullient “There’s No-one Colder Than a Good Drunk, Benjamin”, given added bounce with delightful fiddle and bouncy drums. It’s eccentric and delightful, just as is the entire EP. “Shore Of Sorts” has a lovely lilt to it, as well as some well-played dissonance. It’s sort of a tale of two songs, the calmer, Jekyll side and the clanging discordance of the Hyde side. But once again, it works beautifully. “Ivory” is an absolutely gorgeous song, piano lulling and an overall dreamscape painted.

If this EP is anything to go by, there are bright days ahead for Haunted Stereo. Cross The Sea is an enchanting listen, full of a uniquely English, off-kilter yet bucolic countryside (or perhaps, more appropriately, seaside) folk. Its’ multitudinous idiosyncrasies are rather endearing, and expecting the unexpected has rarely sounded so charming.

mp3: Cross The Sea (Haunted Stereo from Cross The Sea EP)

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