Tarantulahawk - Along With Ghosts EP
Record Label: Still Here Records
Release Date: April 5, 2013
Remember the good old days? Back when cassette tapes ruled and a bunch of dudes recording their debut EP legitimately sounded like a bunch of dudes just recording a debut? Well, I don’t, because I’m 18 and for my generation, a 12 year old in his bedroom with a MacBook can create his own Another Brick In The Wall in any given afternoon. But, hell, I yearn for it anyway. So do Tarantulahawk. Their debut EP, Along With Ghosts, sounds like it was recorded in a basement on a dusty rug with an acoustic guitar and the remnants of Illinois’ broken hearts club. And it’s all the better for that.
Tarantulahawk’s debut release is only four tracks long, but is a great introduction to a band with a lot more to them than there initially appears to be. Despite the somewhat joke-y sounding band name, Tarantulahawk take music very seriously. It’s hard to genre-ize them, but if Elliott Smith was a band, he’d have sounded like this in the early years, something which comes completely apparent in the “Speed Trials” cover which closes out the release. It’s a sound that hasn’t been particularly prevalent in recent times and so, without a lyric or note analysed, Tarantulahawk are already that bit off to a head start.
The songs themselves certainly stand up to any expectations that could have previously been had. It’s a lo-fi affair which basks in sadness and sorrow. The combination of simple acoustic guitarwork and raw, unproduced drumming manages to be endearingly rough and adds the authenticity of the product. Catchiness isn’t present per se, but “Leech” has a wonderfully understated, quiet chorus which nuzzles its way into the listener’s memory through entirely organic means. Tarantulahawk’s main talent lies in lyricism. Although they don’t deploy flashy one liners, their lyrics are consistently emotive and poetic, something which is far more valuable. I think that’s the key to Tarantulahawk’s draw. They are not flashy or super cool, they’re unassumingly, quietly talented and are wonderfully consistent throughout this release. Yeah, they’re not going to become an internet success overnight, but their music is far more valuable than whatever any fadddy scene band is putting out right not.
That’s not to say it’s flawless. The band screws up sometimes. Bad notes are hit and occasionally things get a little too whiny, but they’re the sort of mistakes that should be on a debut and that will easily be ironed out with practice. Hopefully, Tarantulahawk will put out a full length that should, in a sensible world, build them quite the fanbase. If you’re looking for a little piece of the 90s or just want a new band to relax to, these guys are perfect.