The Haints of Dean Hall: The Haints of Dean Hall (Arch Hill)

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The Haints of Dean Hall: Wait 'til Your Father gets Home
The Haints of Dean Hall: The Haints of Dean Hall (Arch Hill)

This off-kilter and eerily dreamy slice of Americana from a conjured up "South" comes from an unexpected source: the Haints of Dean Hall are in fact Stephen Reay and singer/photographer Kathryn McCool, the former from the rowdy Flying Nun band the Subliminals and the latter who now lives near Melbourne.

A haint is an imagined ghost in Americas Southern states, and the brief understated songs here -- sung in an almost disembodied voice by McCool over spare guitar or what sounds like banjo -- certainly evoke spirits of the mysterious kind.

The detuned guitars which slip strangely between notes also add to the slightly disconcerting feel in a song cycle which suggests the strange and sometimes dark territory of Eudora Welty stories (and some local counterparts), an aura re-enforced by McCool's stark and emotionally still cover photos.

Proof that less can be so much more.

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