Got this single in the other day from Spook Houses, a four song EP from a bunch of friends out of Ridgewood, NJ, who just finished touring... even opening for Little Gold at their record release party at Death by Audio. I know what you're thinking...isn't every band friends? Well, sure, but there's a different kind of dynamic growing up together in the same town, the comfortable freedom of the sound and the ability to experiment, all of which comes through on this single.
The A-Side kicks off with an epic length, "Home", lonesome thin electric guitar few and far between strums alongside some kind of atmospheric subtle swirling electronics, sounding a lot like some of the Animal Collective rehearsal tracks from the Crack Box. Low key vocals over this abstract landscape waiting for the entire band to drop in. When the bouncy guitar pop starts, it almost turns towards The Walkmen or Annuals, a really huge, rolling freight train of indie rock, with a raspy uncontrolled vocal, just bordering on a cracking yell, just keeping in front of that energy.
"Turn Twice" has a Replacements feel layered deep vocal, and gritty, crunchy guitar in this brief track that manages to start out with a bang and just builds on that climbing wave of sounds.
The B-Side's "Old Bones" gives you more jangly guitar jams, with an almost funk inspired breakdown part, that somehow matches the main rhythm, and I can't seem to get Paul Westerberg's "Waiting for Somebody" out of my head. It's an anxious track with the band joining in a chorus of MAKE / A / NEW / HO / OME.
"Walking at Night" launches into an off kilter jagged Abe Vigoda high echo rhythm for a minute that drops to a more mellow vocal here... I would even venture to compare them to another NJ nostalgia supergroup, Real Estate, in the way that they seemed to have come up with a body of work that's so minimal, built out of naive simple tunes that just plain work, no overthinking the progressions, the instrumentation. It's just how they always played it... granted they are going for that feel with laidback slightly tropical melody at power rock indie speed. I know there's a lot of content about home, and that feeling towards a particular place going on here, but I'm still just stuck thinking about this one musically. I think it's going to be one of those singles that sticks with me melodically until I figure out it came from Spook Houses single and after getting beyond the catchy indie, it becomes a completely different EP.
You can hear all the tracks over at their bandcamp site which will let you order the EP on black vinyl, with an old neighborhood photo sleeve, and the before and after drawing of what I imagine to be some kind of abstract crazy house. Simultaneously these memories are a home and a place to rip up and start again, at least when it comes to your childhood relationship to it.
Or head over to Evil Weevil, their second home.