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Husband-and-wife duo Brandon Welchez and Dee Dee Penny have combined the musical styles from their respective “home” bands to create a new sound with Haunted Hearts. Haunted Hearts mixes Welchez’s fuzzy-rock from Crocodiles with the pop sensibilities Penny honed with Dum Dum Girls. The end result is their debut album, Initiation, an homage to late ’80s/early ’90s noise-pop that throws in some modern touches.
The introduction to this band sets the table for this original sound. “Initiate Me” begins with some droning fuzz and a decidedly Cure-esque drum beat before the two members sing the chorus in a lazy and casual tandem. “Up is Up (But So is Down)” adds a pair of synth themes that echo the duo’s penchant for singing together, but also help bring the music to a higher level, adding an additional hook. The flip side, however, is that the combination of the keyboards, the staticky guitars and extra percussion, all starts to sound too busy.
“Something That Feels Bad is Something That Feels Good” sounds like something off of an early Jesus and Mary Chain album with its undercurrent of noise supporting a simple melody. “Love Incognito” brings the synthesizers back to the forefront in the form of single chord hits, but Penny’s delivery of the chorus is an eerie combination of Lily Allen and Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser brings it together. Again: today with yesterday.
Initiation ends with “Bring Me Down,” a slow, atmospheric number that draws the album to an even-tempered close. Despite the serious artistic overtones of the album, it does appear as though the couple had a good time making the album, a characteristic that comes across loud and clear to the listener. These eight songs are a preview of what Haunted Hearts is all about, and as they refine their approach, they should be able to produce a more cohesive project, but this Initiation will garner several new members and hundreds of new fans.