CD Review: Church Girls – The Haunt

Joshua Kellogg

Philadelphia: Besides acting as the namesake of the undisputed and objectively best kind of sushi, the city is a breeding ground for talented bands and musicians of all kinds. Names like Joan Jett, Will Smith, and Modern Baseball come to mind.

These days, however, there’s a new racket afoot: the no-frills indie/post-punk quartet known as Church Girls. Their new album, “The Haunt,” is a solidly executed take on something warmly familiar at times, and at others, strange and new.

“Nothing” is a high-energy introduction to the world of “The Haunt.” The guitars are sparkly and the rhythm section drives and frontwoman Mariel Beaumont’s gritty vocals float above the shining wall of sound.

Syncopated guitar lines lend themselves to the head-spinning qualities of math-rock bands such as Covet or Tiny Moving Parts, and the powerful group vocals in the otherwise-relaxed refrains are reminiscent of pop-punk.

“Twin Hell Fire,” with its spacious guitar work and fast and light drum parts, is an indie love song generously doused in modern alt-rock.

The band flexes their lyrical chops with narrative and prosaic lyrics, simultaneously wearing their influences on their sleeve and creating something unmistakably their own. When the chorus finally arrives, it’s satisfyingly explosive with pleasantly scrappy group vocals and sweet guitar lines.

“The Haunt” is an anthemic combination of surf-rock and punk, with bubblegum hooks and abundant thundering drums. The song’s short and sweet refrain is catchy and digestible in a way not incongruous with a teenage party anthem, but with distinctive angst that begs to be shouted along to.

The variety of odd sounds, created by the guitarists playing behind the bridge, add to the lopsided and lovably rebellious atmosphere.

Overall, the album does a good job of exploring a variety of topics in a heart-felt and cathartic manner, and though in the middle it has a tendency to drag slightly, I’d highly recommend it to any fans of Citizen, Modern Baseball, or Frank Iero’s assorted solo work.