(All Album Reviews by doh)
Haakon's Fault is a new band from New York City which has just released its first EP, Pilgrimage. Since the purpose of an EP is to expose listeners to a sample of their sound, I'd have to say an EP will not be enough. Each song on the EP is so different in mood and instrumentation, that it will likely take a full CD (or double!) to get the full Haakon's Fault experience.
The variety between the five tracks is impressive. It's also hard to draw comparisons between their sound and other bands. Possible comparisons range from Echolyn (on "Pilgrimage") to The Toadies (on "Siren"), but these are very loose comparisons. In general, they are more laid back than either of those bands. The easiest comparison for me is a local band that I see live from time to time. I have a hunch that might be the best comparison for any listener - fill in local band of your choice here. They sound like a band that has to be seen live and they correctly trumpet that on their MySpace page.
Despite the aforementioned variety, there are some very common threads. This is a highly skilled and tight band. Every player gets a chance to shine and does shine brightly, from the well-sung vocals through guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums. Their tightness and polish deserve another mention - not a note sounds out of place through either simple or complex sections. In the end, this is likely their biggest attraction, playing high quality music while sounding completely casual and effortless. Personal favorites were "Pilgrimage" and "Eulogic".
I'm a little less satisfied with the mix, however. On opener "Pilgrimage", the bass seems to jump out on first entry and resonates unattractively. On the second track, "Star Gazing", the piano seems to be a little high in the mix. As an "un-audiophile", I worry that if it's noticeable to me, it might drive others nuts.
I'm very curious to see where this band goes on a full CD. They have the high level of talent to go a long way.