17 May 2012

Houdan The Mystic - Archer's Jamboree

Reviewed By The Active Listener (8/10)

I found these guys on bandcamp recently and have been playing their debut e.p repeatedly.
With their brief band bio describing them as "Three beards playing instruments", coupled with their woodland photo shoot album cover, I expected these guys to be soothing backwoods nu-folk of the Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes persuasion.
Bad call by me it seems. Hailing from Richmond Virginia, Houdan the Mystic are a much more diverse outfit than I ever expected.
Album opener "The Men Who Own Evil Laughs" borrows liberally from the Battle's bag of tricks with it's complex post-rock prog riffery, which segues easily into a lovely vocal section which wouldn't sound out of place on a Band of Horses album.
Elsewhere Ethan Kuhn's spidery basswork suggests that Mogwai may be an influence, while Reid LaPierre's arpeggiated guitar parts on album closer "The Power of Water" recall Explosions in the Sky at their finest.
Ethan Johnstone's drums are fluid and inventive throughout, with particularly nice cymbal and hi-hat work helping to flesh out this three piece's sound.
Production quality is great, especially for an album that was apparently recorded and mixed with the help of friends for under $50.
Id like to hear more vocals, but otherwise this is a top notch first effort.
You can download it free from their bandcamp page here.

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