By Erik Myers
Gauntlet Hair’s first step out of the gate might end up being their biggest. Popping out of the blue early last year, “I Was Thinking…” was a massive-sounding and intensely fun single that instantly defined the Denver duo’s sound. It flew across the Internet like a lark bunting set ablaze, eventually landing onto ESPN’s Tim Tebow special. A win is a win.
All the technical tricks that made that song so compelling, like the cool guitar shimmer effects, are accounted for on this self-titled full-length. The album is by no means a repeat, with fresh, compelling melodies that tend to be narrower.
Occasionally they’ll reach for a similar sense of vast space, like on opener “Keep Time,” which builds on a smattering of symbols, rolls into a clap-along melody before dropping into a much more majestic end section.
“Top Bunk” is similarly structured, but with the delay effects ratcheted up, it’s more subdued.
Gauntlet Hair is one of those rock acts that make slow-motion music accessible. Andy Rauworth’s vocals might not cut through the packed layering cleanly, but they sound comfortably in-place in the mix. He sounds best on “My Christ,” an energetic track with a stirring groove and a shade of INXS-inspired flash, utilizing a stark mix of drum machine and Craig Fleischman’s real-person patter.
Towards the end, somewhere between the short bubbly slice of “Overkill” and the more untethered “Shouting in Tongues,” it becomes clear that Gauntlet Hair has successfully followed up their killer single and can now lay claim to their own corner in present-day chamber pop.