The human memory is eerily fallible. We find ourselves remembering things incompletely; in other moments, we add in elements that were never there to begin with. It’s this sense of disoriented familiarity that persists on Haunted Heads’ 2018 album, Everything We Agreed About. The record’s eleven tracks occupy a bit of an amorphous space packed with fluctuating minutia. It’s the sort of album whose mood can vary on every listen, and that’s something pretty remarkable.
Admittedly, Everything We Agreed About may be a grower for some listeners. There are a few tracks which just make sense on the first time through – namely “Cemetery Flowers”, “I Paint Now”, “Don’t Look Down”, and “Tracking Past Colossal”. Haunted Heads applies a DIY ethic to their songwriting so there isn’t too much in terms of conventional verse-chorus-verse structure to be found. It’s a respectable and effective approach, but the lack of defined hooks on several tracks is a bit of an obstacle. It’s certainly not a dealer-breaker, but it’ll take multiple listens to digest a couple of the tracks.
Guitarists Eric Van Thiel and Andrew Johnson share vocal responsibilities, often trading off between songs or providing strong harmonies. However, their vocal timbres are fairly distinct which, while ultimately adding even more detail to the album, could potentially be a curveball to new listeners who are used to a single frontman. Even so, Haunted Heads manages to avoid one of the pitfalls many bands with multiple vocalists face – songs sounding too disparate. Everything We Agreed About is certainly a diverse album, but each song’s style is not contingent on who is singing. That allows it to develop its narrative organically and maintain momentum.
Haunted Heads’ members are all veterans of their craft, and they offer plenty of juxtaposition this time through. It’s not quite a punk album, but it’s perhaps a bit too overdriven to merely be called indie. The band’s live performance of these songs is certainly energetic, but the album keeps things a bit more tame in comparison. Production is clean. The bass is audible. The noisier moments never get too heavy – more akin to early 2000s alt-rock or even grunge perhaps. All of this is coated with a veneer of melodic indie rock that hearkens back to early emo bands like American Football. As to be expected with such a style, the lyrics, as well as vocal delivery, are vulnerable and passionate.
Ultimately, the studio version of Everything We Agreed About is a fairly strong release, but it’s Haunted Heads’ live performance that adds the final touch to these songs. Even so, it’s no surprise why we rated the album as one of our favorites from last year. Check out the album below and experience and see what we mean.