The Old Haunts, Poisonous Times

The Old Haunts, Poisonous Times

Strong bass lines and solid chord structure musically define Poisonous Times, the third release from Olympia, Washington, act The Old Haunts. It’s evident that this garage-rock band won’t have to work late-late nights to keep on the lights, but lead vocalist Craig Extine’s loud-twelve-year-old-boy brand of yearning and sadness and loss ultimately turns the work into an intrusive blur.

The quality of the songs is reflective of their previous full-length albums, Fallow Field and Fuel on Fire, employing steady beats and vintage riffs. The first track sets the stage for the album, with guitars that are twinkly and summery. It could almost be considered beach music, if such a genre still exists. It’s catchy; it almost had me, but then vocalist/guitarist Craig Extine started wailing and didn’t stop the whole way through, although he’s checked by Scott Seckington playing bass and Kill Rock Stars stalwart Tobi Vail on drums. They provide the law and order; they keep this album from sliding down the rocky slope with punk and pop and positive gusto.

The album is neither pop nor punk, yet there’s too much pop for it to be considered post-punk, plus there’s sort of a debauched flavor. And throughout, Extine conveys directly his feelings and doesn’t mean for us to search for them. He sounds mad but not confident about where he’s been or where he’s going. The sometimes manic tone doesn’t seem to suit him, though — he’s capable of more. Poisonous Times achieves the middle ground like no record I’ve heard in a while: equal measures of annoyance and enjoyment. Perhaps it transcends genre, or maybe it doesn’t reach whatever genre it intends to fill. It’s a dog and cat act.

(Kill Rock Stars -- 120 NE State Ave, PMB 418, Olympia, WA. 98501;; The Old Haunts --
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Review by . Review posted Thursday, May 29th, 2008. Filed under Reviews.

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