The Old Haunts Fallow Field

[Kill Rock Stars; 2005]

Styles: garage rock, punk, indie
Others: The Makers, The Go, The Lyres

To me, latter day practitioners of garage rock are fighting an uphill battle. Like punk, garage rock was at its best in its earliest days, when a sense of naïveté was still palpable in the insurgent emotion and energy of the songs. As a consequence, the early bands had a simplified approach to song structure; but as the genre lingers on throughout the years, a self-awareness can't help but creep in. Such is the worry with a band like The Old Haunts who obviously aren't teenagers banging it out on whatever they can find. Rather, they are men drawn together with the purpose in mind of recapturing a sound close to that youthful innocence of early garage rock. This is a tricky task, but The Old Haunts pull it off admirably because their true love for unrefined sound is obvious. Songs like the opener "By the Bay" and "Poison Control" are anchored with staccato fuzz bass and fitfully aggressive drums, while Craig Extine's guitar and sneering vocals project a clear dissatisfaction with his current state of affairs -- garage rock par excellence. While The Old Haunts don't break new ground, that seems not to be their intention. They grab hold of the energy of rock and roll at its untainted best and revel in it. And they do it well enough that, as the album closes out with the sinister guitar/bass attack of "Vandal Hymn," I can't help but picture myself as an angsty teenager sitting in a garage waiting for the drummer to count off before making some truly insolent racket.

1. By the Bay
2. Walk Through the Woods
3. Deflect It
4. Poison Control
5. Boots As Clubs
6. It's So Scandalous
7. The Old World
8. Gold Light
9. Cult Baby
10. You Could Never Know
11. Out of Sight
12. Vandal Hymn