Formed in 1965, the Haunted from Montreal, Quebec, Canada were one of the area’s most popular bands until 1971, the year they split up. They later experienced another round of glowing recognition when garage rock groupies across the globe discovered their work.
Ambassadors of blues-laden beat music, the Haunted modeled themselves after the likes of the Animals, the Pretty Things and Manfred Mann, and performed a bloody good job of doing so.
Serving to be a comprehensive package, The Haunted (VOXX Records) features the band’s sole album of the same name, which was pressed on the Trans-World label in 1967, plus their singles.
All the proper elements symbolic with the style of music the band championed are spit out in spades here. Howling harmonicas hold hands with clanging electric guitars, while the vocals are gritty and gruff. Self-assured and surly looking, the band obviously represented the more menacing aspects of the pop movement.
Original songs such as “1-2-5” and “Searching For My Baby” stand shoulder to shoulder with the best of the band’s mentors. Treatments of Sam Cooke’s “Shake” and Them’s “I Can Only Give You Everything” are rendered with respect, and although “Horror Show,” a terrifying mass of thunderous jamming projecting impressions of a bad acid trip, is credited to the group, the tune is actually called “E Too D” and was initially written and recorded by the Small Faces.
A few instrumentals also appear on The Haunted, including “Twist” and “Montreal Blues” that accent what a punchy rhythm section the band brandished. The group eventually embraced the hard rocking psychedelic dynamics of the day, revealing a particular reverence for Jimi Hendrix, resulting in a couple of heavyweight happenings screaming with shards of shrieking string-bending action.
Slow burning ballads further spotted the band’s songlist, as affirmed by “I’m Just Gonna Blow My Little Mind To Bits” and a version of Love’s “A Message To Pretty,” but there’s no question their real strength rested in the raw and raunchy stuff.
Chock full of memorable tracks, The Haunted is a great summary of a band that did nothing to hide their influences, yet they somehow managed to develop their own personality amid their travels.
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