Havania Whaal's 'Elaborate Minor Crisis' is a stargaze-pop supernova
Portland’s DIY dreamers, Havania Whaal just put out their new album #ElaborateMinorCrisis and it sure is an emotional roller coaster, it’s a full on breakdown of this band’s eclectic influences. The album starts out with a shrill violin part that almost sounds like crying over the drowsy guitar and drums, giving you a taste of the grey sky brand of shoegaze that this Portland quartet has down so well. After opening, the band picks up the tempo and rides out on a glistening guitar riff by Paul Sobiech; reminiscent of something from DIIV’s Oshiin release. Distorted power chords drenched in delay, coupled with the harmonies of the drummer Noelle Magia and bassist Caroline Jackson towards the end of the track pull you into the depths of their insufferable emotions, accomplishing the magic that the Cocteau twins do in the same way. Speaking of twins, this group has the power of a sibling duo behind it with brother and sister Sobiech and Magia, which is an unspoken plus for so many amazing musical groups.
Havania Whaal has a way of toeing the line between catchy dream-pop hooks, and uplifting guitar parts mixed with their ethereal vocals; juxtaposed against depressive post-punk howls interspersed with swirling shoe gaze psychedelia that only gets more intense as the album goes on. #ElaborateMinorCrisis has a good flow, taking you further into Havania’s lucid realm that becomes well realized as you take steps down the stairway of their echo chamber. The climax moment on this album feels like it happens on the track "Undercover" where the layering of guitars and effects along with the return of the weeping violin (featured by Melody Wilbrecht) build into madness and psychedelia as the track slows down and the band begins chanting “We Have Our Eyes On You” reminding you of the album cover of three eyes beneath the tracers of six hands, suddenly making the imagery more powerful. After this fever dream of a track is possibly the most danceable one on the album called "The Party" where happiness and simplicity returns on this bouncy number, suddenly I’m transported to an ocean vista seen from a dark room laced with black lights and neons.
Havania just started their fall tour and they will be coming to Seattle this Friday, November 3rd to Maison de Fat Cat. This will definitely be a show not to miss during the Halloween season.