There’s always a sense of terrifying suspense when a band with a reputation as rightfully immaculate as Gauntlet Hair’s release new material at such an early stage of their career. Their apparently psychotic love of the delay effect married with yelped pop hooks and a crushing mélange of drums has so far swivelled the heads and widened the arteries of both the most adored blogs (Gorilla vs Bear, mostly) right down to the mainstream media which often treats so called “blog bands” with condescending contempt. Yet with the announcement of their next single ‘Out, Don’t…’ / ‘Heave’ on Mexican Summer comes another chance for the band to put a foot wrong and disappoint those who had placed so much faith in first single ‘I Was Thinking…’.
I’d love to get stuck in straight away with the usual excited hyperbole, but I won’t this time. The truth is, without exploding into their enormous potential, Gauntlet Hair are simply going to keep expectations high with the frustrated restraint of ‘Out, Don’t…’. Unarguably, it’s far less accessible than ‘I Was Thinking…’, opting for a densely layered and abrasive production that won’t be penetrated by those who were only impressed by the hooks of the previous single. Arguably, though, there’s far more on offer here for the slightly pretentious muso (such as myself). The swell of shimmering guitars giving way to echoing vocals is almost vitriolic in intensity, and comparisons to No Age or Japandroids can now extend beyond the meaningless fact that all bands involved are duos. Their fixation with delay is ever present, but it’s also starting to win us over and ’Out, Don’t…’ also demonstrates a variety and versatility to their sound that confirms that we need not worry about the quality of their music the next time they announce a new release; Gauntlet Hair have more than proved themselves as a truly experimental talent.