5 new tracks, released exclusive for Haldol's recent tour.
Our take: Brand new 5-song cassette from Philadelphia’s Haldol, and they continue to evolve and push boundaries. There are things that have remained consistent across Haldol’s releases (well, at least since they moved from Nashville to Philadelphia)—the tom-heavy drumming, melodic bass lines, and tortured vocals—but each release has had a very different vibe than the last. Their self-titled LP sounded like a cleaned-up (but still fucked-up) version of Rudimentary Peni, while The Totalitarianism of Everyday Life got dark in a way that reminded me of Joy Division’s Closer. These new songs find the band evolving yet again, laying melodic guitars over the dark and driving foundation. Barring the very different vocal style, the songs on this tape remind me of tracks like “The Queen Is Dead” and “Bigmouth Strikes Again” from the Smiths’ The Queen Is Dead, songs that have a tough, Gang of Four or Crisis-like rhythm section topped with shimmering, melodic guitar that spends most of its time on the higher-pitched strings rather than replicating the bass lines as power chords. The result is grimy yet beautiful, like an oil slick on top of a pothole that’s filled with water from the first rainstorm in a while. The songs are still sprawling and non-linear and listening can be as disorienting as navigating a house of mirrors. But for all of its difficult qualities, I keep coming back to this tape. It’s not an easy listen, but it rewards the people willing to invest the time to parse its beauty.