I was aware of Stevens Point Brewery and their refreshing brews, but I had no clue the Wisconsin city had a rising music scene. One of its best local acts goes by the name Haunter, a four-piece of friends crafting eerily scenic folk with a reverence for Animal Collective and Grizzly Bear. They released a self-titled LP last week that is generously being offered at a name-your-own-price rate on Bandcamp. The album was a very collaborative effort. Each of the four members wrote their own songs, which one can identify by the lead vocalist.
Opener “Translucent” has a perky acoustic bounce and snappy snares, resulting in a tropical feel that the opening lyrics are well aware of: “Out in the sunlight, under the trees, I don’t know what I am, I just know what I see,” John Schoneman sings. “What is a good life? What does that mean? Is it feeling translucent?” Even the band’s brightest moments have an atmospherically somber touch to them. Something similar can be said for “Laura Palmer”, a love ode that is initially led by only an acoustic guitar flutter and caressing vocals. Gentle orchestral elements sweep in during the bridge, the instrumental mix resembling traditional Eastern music with its creaky strings and resonating echo; the sound reminds me of a guqin, a seven-string instrument that dates back to ancient times. There is a timeless quality to Haunter’s music, and this is merely one example of that.
Another stunner is “Take Me Back (To Those Times)”, one of the truest interpretations of ’70s psych-folk I’ve heard in some time. Playfully spontaneous percussion mixes well with a sing-along chorus, repeating the song’s title in a form you’d expect from a peaceful protest circle. This is one of the band’s most accessible efforts, but a great way to dig into this fantastic LP. Downloading it for free is a steal.