Having started in 2018 as a two-man love of heavy psychedelic and stoner vibes, the band Haurun has ever since been perfecting their line-up and building an eclectic collection of tunes, six of which have made it onto the debut album, Wilting Within, which is being released in collaboration with Small Stone Records and Kozmik Artifactz.
The five-piece, from Oakland, California, fuse multiple elements, from shoegaze to heavy psychedelia and stoner, to create an album filled with such a richness in depth and a sublime luxurious sound which will take you away to another realm altogether. Even though there are only six tracks, the overall length of music comes in at just under forty-five minutes, so there’s a lot of content within that timeframe.
And what an incredible forty-five minutes it is. Right from the opening seconds of Abyss to the dying moments of Soil, here is an album which defies specific classification. I was reading online that there were comparisons to Emma Ruth Rundle and Windhand, but neither of these artists are close, beyond being female fronted.
I guess Haurun have a uniqueness akin to Ruth Rundle, and maybe if you softened Windhand, then that could be possible, but for me, I would suggest More of a sway towards both Blackwater Holylight and Black Moon Mother, as both of those acts really do capture a chilled heavy shoegaze sensibility in a more dynamic way. There are heavy elements here too, but I feel Haurun are more texture over intensity, and that really shines through on this debut.
Tracks such as Lunar have such epic guitar solos which will leave you breathless, and it’s those wonderful inclusions into the mix which really do show a band who have taken their time and crafted a sound which is completely their own. Add to that Lyra Cruz’s phenomenally cool, eclectic and otherworldly vocals that washes over each track beautifully, and what you have is the makings of a classic album at your fingertips before it becomes a classic.
It’s incredibly hard to point towards any specific highlights with an album such as this because with each new listen I favour different tracks every time. I could suggest aiming towards Lunar if you wanted a snapshot of the band, but then you would miss out on the rolling ambient intensity that runs throughout Soil, and that would be a real shame.
it has something intoxicating yet compelling within it…
In my humble opinion, it would be safer to say that if you like to try things that aren’t necessarily heavier, but are deeper tonally, then please invest your time into the whole album, because each track is both similar and yet totally different at the same time.
For instance, Lost & Found, track two, breaks from a slow and luxurious shoegaze introduction to a point where the chorus is deeper and darker as it moves away from that shoegaze vibe without ever really being obvious. Each member is given the chance to shine, and each musician brings something equally hypnotic to the table. From thick and dense drum and bass to pained and yet vibrant guitars, it all works seamlessly. This isn’t all about Lyra and a backing band, everyone adds a layer, none is less important than the next, and it feels warm and inviting, and I guess ultimately you can feel the love that the members have for both each other and the music.
Abyss itself, the opening track, has a warm and inviting feel as if the band are enticing you in like a siren would. I think for me, this was what pushed me towards a Blackwater Holylight comparison, it has something intoxicating yet compelling within it.
In contrast, Tension goes from an easy chilled start to a change of pace as it evolves, and by its last third, it has hit a more vibrant and abrasive mood. Such is the nature of the band, they can move between a warm ambience, a lavish outpouring and back again with such delicacy that you are often unaware it’s even happening until it’s happened.
This is the same with track four, Flying Low, where a chilled beginning transforms into heavy shoegaze opulence, like a tap being slowly turned from a trickle into a gush. Again, there’s a vibrancy to it all, and the guitar break within is absolutely spellbinding. By the time Soil is closing the album, it is absolutely soaring, and as it dies away, what’s left is feelings of both elation and completion.
As is with any album I review, I don’t just listen a couple of times, and then have a definitive opinion, I will always spend a long period relistening, picking things up, and then hit the pages to type up a review. With some albums I find when I’ve finished the review, I put the album down, and head towards the next one, and it takes something truly wonderful to stay with me long after that time. This is one of those albums that will live on far beyond the review and will spend a lot of time being revisited over the next few years…
Scribed by: Lee Beamish