Subtle is the debut EP from Seattle based Hallows; a collection of tracks which resonated in ears and the imagination with increasing effect listen by listen and encounters that are sure to fascinate any appetite for darkwave and post punk exploration.
Consisting of Dom R. (vocals, guitar, synth, drum programming) and Vanee D. (vocals, synth, bass), Hallows emerged in 2018 in Minneapolis / St. Pau before relocating. As their first EP reveals, the duo create songs and soundscapes as atmospherically revealing as they are post punk bred and dark wave mysterious. Each of the five tracks within Subtle make for captivating encounters which got under the skin in varying degrees but all deeply fascinated from first to last tenebrific breath.
Even in the individual character of their sound, Hallows reflect inspirations from modern peers like Soft Kill and Ritual Howls but equally there are certain aspects which bear essences of eighties bred bands. EP opener Out Of Sync is a lure of dark shadows and electronic suggestion, its web portentous in a way yet melodic radiant before the following title track consumed attention. Around the temptation of Vanee’s warm tones, its rhythmic touch carries intimation of early March Violets, almost concussive small explosions on the senses drawing that echo which is only enhanced by the dark throes of bass and Dom’s equally inky tones. This is turn brings thoughts to the likes of Skeletal Family and Children on Stun yet firmly Hallows set their own identity down, the track a striking persuasion.
In a Sleeping World is next up, rhythmic bait tapping air within a sonic shimmer initially before the song breaks into a lively dawdling gait lit by electronic phosphorescence. Again there is an old school breath to the track colluding with a fresh intense sigh carrying a touch of Dark Register to it, but once more the duo breed their own unique presence and a moment which only entangled ears and imagination before The Call // Ravenous dug even deeper into the psyche. Mystery and darkness soak every second of its dramatic presence, it’s almost claustrophobic air lit by electronic beacons of sound and seduction as again the union of vocals unite imposing shadows and streetlight like safety. Effortlessly compelling, the song is superb and with the title track stealing top honours.
The EP ends with Far Too Gone, a muggy bordering on suffocating hug of sound and atmospheric gravity which subsequently evolves into a just as thick and ravenous mist of ephemeral beauty and synth borne temptation if still shrouded by heavy invasive clouds of matching intimation. It is a spellbinding and gripping conclusion to a similarly hypnotic encounter, one announcing Hallows as one great reward in embracing darkness.
The Subtle EP is out now via Phage Tapes; available @ https://hallows.bandcamp.com/album/subtle
Pete RingMaster 02/06/2020