I’m obsessed with Cape Town, South Africa’s Past Haunts. I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited about a screamo record. There are so many great things to say about their latest release, Others, that it’s hard to decide where to begin. They groove all the way through. They’re catchy as hell. I think the best thing about this band is how much they sound like a real, honest to goodness, no strings attached fucking rock band. The guitars sound like guitars, the drums sound like drums, the bass sounds like a bass, and the vocals are completely dry and almost entirely unaccompanied. Their attack is equal parts vicious punk rock and melody, and the songs are structured exactly the way they need to be.
There is no bullshit on Others. Opening track “Conscious Round” draws you in with a set of dreamy set of chords before singer, Brett Allen-White, practically begs you to listen to his story of a girl who “dealt in lies well-improvised, and hypnotized me.” He then proceeds to deliver a performance that sounds like he was literally spewing venom in the booth while the rest of the band churned out riffs and licks like McDonald’s churns out Big Macs.
It may take several listens to fully grasp the scope of this record. The songs here are so flushed out, so full, that every moment is worth revisiting. “Apparition (Hunting Ground)” is heavy as hell with a soaring hook. Lead single “Once Bitten” is an awesome pop rocker with just enough grit to earn the respect of the real emo-heads while being a mainstay on rock radio. There’s even an instrumental that sounds as much like Tool as it does like Converge.
For anyone who thinks that punk rock is a dying art, one need only look to Past Haunts for proof that it is still fully alive and evolving.
Written by Syd Ghan