Haress produce music like no other band in the U.K., and while they have been around for some time now, quite frankly, they should be celebrated far more than they are.
A motley selection of musicians that have featured heavily in the New Weird Britain scene for well over a decade now, Haress are vocalists and multi-instrumentalist, Elizabeth Still (Black Octagon), guitarist David Hand (Black Octagon, Spitting Cobra), guitarist Chris Summerlin (Hey Colossus, Grey Hairs), drummer David Smyth (Kling Klang, Mind Mountain) and vocalist Thomas House (Sweet Williams).
With the core members now based in Bishop’s Castle, Haress have injected a locality and seemingly unspoken civic virtue into their songwriting; their surroundings a clear influence on the songs that comprise of their latest LP, Ghosts, which follows their excellent 2019 self-titled album.
Combing atmospheric electric folk with meandering post-rock, there’s a primordial vastness all the way through Ghosts, and it starts with White House. House’s ghostly vocals are like a mist that masquerades the forest while Summerlin’s tones echo the likes of Hey Colossus’ aural bludgeoning but with a tender cadence.
Which leads into Time to Drink and Rites of Spring – the kind of pieces that unfurl with a sonic vernacular that evoke an imagery of green open spaces. Here Haress bring us their own interpretation of fractured folk.
Then there’s I Think, I Think – a carved out lament with warm inflections tailor-made for head phones. It’s like a backdrop for a group of nomadic herdsmen practising a newfound ritual around the roaring campfire. It sets things up nicely for Ghosts’ centre-piece: Litres Into Metres – Sussurrus.
Once again House’s vocals add haunting dimensions to Haress’ ghostly thrum, and on Litres Into Metres – Sussurrus it sees the band at their best, with hypnotic rhythms and guitar chimes that prick the air.
The song ties together Ghosts perfectly, and while Ghost Story – an eerie spoken-word tale – brings Ghosts to its ultimate conclusion, this album is a seamless progression from Haress and another important chapter from a band that captures the pure essence of the U.K. underground.
Essentially, Haress are a band for all the heads and Ghosts only solidifies this position.
Ghosts is out now via Wrong Speed Records. Purchase from Bandcamp.