Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
In the two, almost three, years I have been doing TwangriLa, this is the third Baltimore band that I have reviewed. I hope that Overgrown by Haint Blue is a precursor of things to come. I would love nothing more than to review more local bands that are in the Americana space. Unfortunately, Baltimore doesn’t seem like the town that supports those types of acts. Until now. I do believe that this release will be a turning point for the Baltimore Americana music scene. And Haint Blue have appeared on Tiny Desk Concert. That’s street cred.
Overgrown is a very impressive album. Beautiful melancholy folk tunes that lean toward Goth almost. Similar to the style of The Decemberists. The first thing that stands out to me is the listenability of this collection. The sound, mix, and general production value is absolutely fabulous. As I have stated on many occasions, I like to play the “how I would have done it” game. I cannot think of one instance where I felt the song craftsmanship could have been improved. These guys and gals are at the top of their craft, both musically and in sound engineering.
The songs on this album are laid out like a play. Multiples acts and all the songs seem to have a common theme and song placement was very important to Haint Blue. Every detail of recording was considered. A Love, Misplaced (Interlude III) (Track 10) is the perfect song to use as a measuring stick. This song has such an airy atmospheric feel to it that it could almost float away. Included with the ethereal qualities is the flawless playing and singing which elevates Haint Blue as one of the elite bands in this genre.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the opening track, Another Year. Get your tissues out folks, you are gonna need them. The vocals are sung so well to give that image of emotional turmoil. The song is as lovely as it is sad. And seems to beg to be repeated. I will certainly comply with that mandate. This song will gladly be repeated.
I am really encouraged by the quality of this release. And it gives me pride to know that they are from my home town. I hope this is a positive sign of a burgeoning Baltimore Americana scene. Fingers crossed!