The Haunted Continents

The Loudest Year Ever

Written by: TL on 01/05/2011 20:07:57

Reading the promotional material for "The Loudest Year Ever", the debut LP by New York-based duo The Haunted Continents, I must admit I am slightly confounded by the fact that it declared that their music being for the fans of a mix of Weezer and Buddy Holly. I mean, Buddy Holly, okay sure, but Weezer? There's not much trace of their dorky-yet-noisy tunes in this bunch of songs, rather I'd say they all seem drenched in the kind of folksy Americana you would know from the likes Ryan Adams, Dear And The Headlights and The Snake The Cross The Crown, and tinted with a light-hearted pop-sensibility alá Cold War Kids.

That slight disagreement aside though, there certainly is enjoyment to be had, listening to these ten songs of heartbreak, all of them intentionally corny, with mainman James Downes crooning impressively on top of very traditional rock, which sometimes seems almost like a pastiche on old melodies that will sound very familiar to you. The record has the warmth and authenticity of an archetypical independent recording, and as such is very pleasant to take in. However, on the flipside, the songs, while certainly quite charming, aren't exactly all that special or, more importantly, memorable.

There's an exception to be found in the up-beat "Cure For The Blues", but in most songs, it's like the light-hearted distance between Downes and his own lyrical material, prohibits him from creating truly engaging moments. Listening to "Nothin' To Be Done" for instance, I get the feeling that this would be what Fleetwood Mac could have sounded like on "Rumours", if the legendary record had been written years after the breakups that inspired it, while the band members were all sitting back and having a laugh about it. As you might imagine, that would probably have made it a less touching record, and I get that sort of feeling from "The Loudest Year Ever", so while it is a quite enjoyable listen, I'll suggest that Downes and his collaborator Matt Cascella do away with the distance between them and their emotions, and try to be more honestly sentimental next time around. Maybe that way, there's a chance we listeners could get touched for real, rather than just cracking a slight smile and moving on.


Download: Cure For The Blues, Nothin' To be Done
For The Fans Of: Ryan Adams, Dear And The Headlights, Cold War Kids,

Release Date 25.01.2011

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