Haunted West: Postlude

“Our lives are lost and so predictable,” Haunted West songwriter Mark Grande moans in “Empty House.” Postlude is most certainly not high in lyrical triumphs, but this line is probably the most effective of the bunch, as it acts as a kind of mission statement for the album. Through a combination of both inter- and intra-song repetitiveness, every track somehow manages to overstay its welcome, despite the face that almost all of them remain under the three-minute mark. Even if this particular style of rock music is foreign to you, I would wager that you’d be able to find the exact formula of every song by the beginning of the third track.

The predictability of the melodies are reinforced by an array of hackneyed lyrics. Of course, one could argue that the lyrics are not meant to be the main focus, but it’s hard to ignore them when Grande’s droning voice is the most prominent element, and seems to counteract any intricacies in the music.

However, the most frustrating part is not these glaring unpleasantries, but rather the squandered potential. The instrumental parts of many tracks—“Skinny Walker,” “She Haunts Me,” “Honduras,” and “Lodebhar”—have an eerie sort of funkiness, with cool keys and spooky, distorted guitars. Yet each one of these parts feels flattened by the rest of the song it belongs to. The second half of “Lodebhar,” in particular, has little to no connection to the uninspired first half, and only makes me think of how much this album could have been improved had it been a purely instrumental affair.

Aside from the aforementioned positives, Postlude doesn’t seem to have a real beginning or end, and doesn’t go anywhere in the middle. Rather, it skates maddeningly in circles on some surface, like a disoriented water bug in a stagnant pool. It’s only logical to take another line from the previously quoted track: “I’m right back where I started from.”

In A Word: Insipid