HALO FAUNA: Self Titled: CD

It’s a full-length CD of mildly acoustic stuff that would probably sound pretty at home on a label like Harlan or Plan-It-X. The vocals could be thrown in the same barrel as the guy from Alkaline Trio or John Samson from the Weakerthans. Musically, it’s somewhat minimalist, generally consisting of undistorted guitar, bass, drums, and the occasional keyboard or clarinet. The thing that held my interest throughout the record was that these are essentially pop songs that lack any real bite or venom, but the lyrics are also intrinsically political, coming across as both poetic and enraged. I can see the vocals turning a lot of people off at first (as they initially did for me), but there’s something about the band’s earnestness and the singer’s willingness to belt it out there even when he sometimes hits things a little flat or off-key that’s really endearing to me. Best song has to be the last one, “Sunday School,” where they ditch the drums and offer up a sparse and restrained song about humanity’s constant and woeful misappropriation of “God’s will.” It’s refreshing to hear a band that’s political and intelligent without trying to out-thrash every other group out there, as well as hear some nice, often awkward pop music that steers far clear from the “I love her so-whoa-whoa” arena of chocolate and roses.

 –keith (Halo Fauna)