The Haunt, the second full-length from Philly rockers Church Girls, is a blistering album full of songs that sound simultaneously aggressive and melodic, both mosh-able and introspective. The release is the first with this particular set of musicians behind vocalist/guitarist Mariel Beaumont. And let’s hope it’s not the last, because the group sounds great backing up Beaumont’s raw, visceral vocals with sharp guitars, hectic drumming, and basslines that catapult you into the next section of the song.
The record is packed with evocative lyrics that’ll stop you in your tracks, like the repetition of “and in this crumbling house where the walls are misshapen / search and scour the place find something for breaking” at the end of “Could’ve Been.” Equally gripping is the moment “Twin Hell Fire” really kicks into gear with Beaumont painting the picture: “in the middle of nowhere Indiana, with an inferno of my own / I was pouring gasoline when you got me on the phone.” All of it is backed up by unique, energetic, and tight instrumentation.
Much of the record’s lyrics address struggling with addictive behavior, put most beautifully in “Colorado,” an absolute stunner of a song placed near the end of the album. It starts with the direct lyric: “I ask you what’s the point of it all?” before rising from the depths and ending on the vaguely hopeful note of “How this song always kills me / makes me think I could be alright this time.”
“Florida” and “The Haunt” also stand out as particularly great songs, but there are no weak spots on this record. Beyond being catchy as hell, both songs also highlight the themes of the record with references to “drinking into the dawn” and kicking “old bad nicotine habits.”
The whole record lasts less than half an hour and features a handful of songs that pack a range of emotion into a short space. In a Joyce Manor-esque style, Church Girls have nailed the art of writing two-minute songs that feel like four-minute songs (in a good way).
The Haunt is a captivating, intense listen that only becomes better the more you listen.
By aaron eisenreich
Church Girls Tour Dates