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On Tuesday, Arlington’s Lovitt Records released the follow-up to the 2006 self-titled debut by Northern Virginia’s Haram. Last year I wrote that the band “references the best of its hometown—Fugazi’s mid-tempo menace, Circus Lupus’s intrepid guitar-work, etc.—while stretching its melodies beyond a handful of scritchy-scratchy chords.”
The latter bit is important. When Haram came out, the indie underground was in the thrall of Gang of Four’s percussive funk—so much so that the legendary post-punk act got back together to tour and rerecord the most popular portions of its back catalog (see: Return the Gift). Few disciples, however, seemed to grasp that there’s more to GoF than just scritchy-scratchy guitar work. This is what set Haram apart. Not only did the band’s debut do everything that a post-punk record needed to do, it also embedded folky motifs within the typical three-to-five-chord rumble.
On its second full-length, Drescher—which needs a disclaimer that says, not that Drescher—Haram adds a new bassist and a third guitarist (!), but for the most part sounds like the same band that made the debut. Like that record, Drescher is readymade for something other than local acclaim. Its urgent-with-a-capital-U melodies cruise along at a brisk-but-not-fast pace, a tempo at which the band’s insistent guitars and left-winger-next-door vocals start to sound like pop music.
The band gets back from Europe later this month and will appear at The Red & the Black on November 29th.