[sic] Magazine

Haunted Hearts – Initiation

All you have to do is name those involved and you’ll know if you’ll like Initiation for Haunted Hearts are lovebirds Kristin “Dee Dee” Gundred of Dum Dum Girls and Brandon Welchez of Crocodiles and, boy, don’t you just know it. The pair have been sonically star-crossed for some time so this dreamy collaboration has really only been a matter of time and, basically, it’s a marriage of what the two do best.

Each on equal pegging, vocal duty is largely shared but it’s Dee Dee that gets the attention, particularly during the powerful “Love Incognito” in which, standing stately against the track’s sombre sway and neat slo-mo guitar, she belts one out for a change. It’s idolatry stuff, voyeuristic even, seeing her like this through Welchez’s eyes. Say what you will about the guy (his 80s indie fix for one – check his solid Ian McCulloch impression on “House Of Lords”), but he knows how to pen decent, if tinny, underbelly pop. No matter how upbeat he may ever seem – and some of the smart guitar pop and strong choruses here are – he always manages to weave a heavy-hearted undertow into the mix. Dee Dee too has always had a way with the dark, her monotone tendrils pulling otherwise lightweight, samey pop down into the dirt and shadows of alien-sounding back-masking effects and blurry Lynchian basslines such as those in the closer “Bring Me Down”.

Perhaps inevitably when the two combine to duet in harmony it all nevertheless gets a little hot under the collar. “Up Is Up (But So Is Down)” is a sexy little sashay of beat programmes meeting psychedelic swooshes and last year’s single, “Something That Feels Bad Is Something That Feels Good”, which breathes as heavily as The Raveonettes’ “Great Love Sound” (no real surprise considering Sune Rose Wagner’s production on the last couple of Dum Dum Girls releases), culminates with the risqué takeaway that “You can tie me up / If I can tie you down.” Good, clean fun you’ll no doubt agree. Initiation in a nutshell.

Best tracks: “Something That Feels Bad Is Something That Feels Good” and “Love Incognito”.

~Initiation is released 26th May 2014 via Zoo Music.~