Gauntlet, a duo from Denver, is set to release their self-titled debut on Dead Oceans on October 18th. These groove-fanatics are sure to make waves with this introductory pile driver.
Having relocated from Chicago to Denver three years ago and heavily involving themselves within the avant-pop DIY scene, Andy R (guitar, vocals) and Craig Nice (drums, triggers) of Gauntlet Hair have released a few 7”s over the years but never anything as hefty and fully formed as this.
It is both wholly encompassing of the open expansiveness of the West while still clinging on to the hard beats and soul sensibilities of Chicago both past and present. There are many reoccurring musical themes on the album. The guitars loop cyclically, the drum patterns are urgent to say the least and the vocals are chanted, effected just so, making the lines feel like they are coming from the corner of your mind – that persistent thought that feels too weird to let go.
“Shout in Tongues” is like an early dancehall track mixed with a 40s big band jazz record mixed with a 90s top 40 hit, whereas “My Christ” and “Lights Out” have more of an 80s vocals meets world beat vibe. For as solidified as the sound of Gauntlet Hair is, they certainly hit on a wide and varied cross-section of influences and citations.
After a few listens the songs start to meld into one super-song with spikes and peaks of resolve, memorable moments and vocal mantras that surface from time to time. But the ideas are solid. By far the standout track is the single, “Top Bunk”, with its unmistakable groove and staggered yet still sinuous determination.
Have a listen to Top Bunk and make sure to grab their release when it comes out on October 18th on Dead Oceans.