SUBJECT MATTER wise, Haunted Hearts debut album Initiation (Zoo Music ) is a little naughty, being inspired by the New York S&M scene of the 1970s and 1980s.
“You can tie me tight/you can tie me up/if I can tie you down” coos Dee Dee Penny enticingly on ‘Something That Feels Bad Is Something That Feels Good’, and yes, that is the Dum Dum Girls’ Dee Dee Penny taking on the majority of the album’s vocal duties.
Haunted Hearts is a collaboration between Dee Dee and her husband Brandon Welchez of the band Crocodiles, and Initiation expands on the couples’ individual forays into dream pop and noise-indie, with some added Krautrock, Shoegaze, and eighties pop influences.
Despite its unorthodox lyrical theme, swirling Kraftwerkian psychedelia (the magnificent ‘Johnny Jupiter’ ) and dense walls of sound which threaten, deliberately, to haze out into static and white noise (‘House Of Lords’ ), at heart, Initiation is a pop album, left field certainly, but still pop in its clever hooks (the hand claps and street chant chorus of ‘Initiate Me’ ), catchy refrains (‘Up Is Up (But So Is Down )’ ), and beguiling melodies (‘Bring Me Down’ deserves to become one of indie’s great love songs ) - the heart always of good pop.
Given this is a labour of love for wife and husband, and a bit of an indulgence, Initiation is not for neophytes to either Dee Dee or Brandon, but die-hards for Shoegaze, dream pop, and the Dum Dum Girls will find plenty here both clever and entertaining.