Gauntlet Hair: Gauntlet Hair
Over the last year and a half, Gauntlet Hair has seen its noise-pop anthems released on 7"s by tastemaker labels Forest Family ("I Was Thinking..." b/w "Our Scenery") and Mexican Summer ("Out, Don't..." b/w "Heave") respectively. And with the self-titled debut, the duo of Andy R (guitar, vox) and Craig Nice (drums, triggers) fulfill the booming promise of those now collectible singles.
Written and recorded in Spring 2011 at Andy's grandmother's Chicago-area house while she was away on vacation, Gauntlet Hair is a subtle refinement of the sounds we've come to associate with the band — the trunk-rattling bass; the ecstatic, tinny post-punk guitar; the din of ecstasy. But what was once simply jarring in its audacity is now also bursting with new colors. While the band continues to mine the pulse-and-clap cues of modern club rap, the intricacies of Andy's Durutti Column-inspired, circular guitar lines come a bit more to the fore on Gauntlet Hair. They are at once oblique and; pounding and glassy; melodic and exploratory. Standout "Top Bunk," with its tide-like suction and throb, is a cooled-out, coastal slowgrind. The songs multiple sections overlap and interlace through bass throb, elliptical guitars and affably shouted and falsetto-sung mantras. It's a shining, disorienting example of the careful, Byzantine sculpture behind each of these party jams. It's music made with the sole purpose of losing yourself — both mind and body — inside of it. They take the listener into the red, evoking that unmistakable feeling of being squarely in front of the speaker as it is screaming blissfully loud melodies.