Gauntlet Hair – Stills
Gunning for nostalgia, Andy R and Craig Nice reunite for Gauntlet Hair’s second LP Stills. Inspired by the dark angst of favourite childhood bands, the Colorado pair unveil a gloomy album full of murky depths and jangly highs. Clocking in at a mere half hour, but continuing their signature reverb-cloaked melodies in a fuzz of drum-machine beats and muffled vocals, Stills is the brief but conflicted output of an otherwise talented band.
Moving past the weak opening (Human Nature and Spew are more discordant than ambient), and allowing the foamy sound to swell into tuneful peaks, some rewards come twinkling. Bad Apple and New To It spin like carousels at a misty night-time fairground, and the colourful wails of Falling Out conjure the now-standard Animal Collective nod. But despite efforts to catch a spark, any worthwhile glow is lost in a shoegazey fog, and the overall impression is damp and wanting. [George Sully]