In doing so, they distilled the murkiness of memory into music, populating 11 tracks with ghosts and other transparencies. They seem to be everywhere, lurking in heads and especially in our hearts.
Haunts is a compendium of love and loss.
Underscored by dense and sonic synth landscapes, purposeful percussion, and steady soaring vocals, Greg Walters and Cason Kelly have captured what is best described as twilight — those hazy minutes when the day is neither new nor done. The ghosts of it are still all around, shaking chains and making sounds.
The opening track says it plainly enough, walking the fine line between lamenting the loss of it while celebrating the experience of it. Drinking With Your Ghost is one of the most focused compositions the duo has laid down since coming together as a band.
The video, produced by Icarus Pictures under the director of Brian Levi Bowman, reinforces the intricate uncertainties of the album. No one can truly be sure whether Walters is feeling solemn or solace as he wanders along with the memory of an old flame.
The second track, Scott & Zelda, changes up the tempo and tone, creating some epic percussion fills and intertwining synths. In this case, the ghosts are only from their pasts but conjure up images of the Fitzgerald couple. The track is brilliantly modern with only a nostalgic nod.
The sentiment doesn't change with Systems. Walters and Kelly revel in rehashing the past, recognizing that all those small failures are really part of a bigger system with tiny victories. What's remarkable about the track is how the duo acknowledges the pain of it but retains a hopeful tone.
In doing so, Walters and Kelly attempt to make sense of everything in their lives. And in that way, it's not much different from what they used to do before they turned to music. Cason was helping inner city kids through social work. Walters had been working as a foreign correspondent based in Moscow.
"Journalism and music are both ways of making sense of the world," Walters says. "Journalism looks outward at what's happening around you. Music explores your inner life."
While neither of them would trade their occupational experiences, both admit to feeling burned out and looking for something new. Given that each of them had been part of other music projects, the prospect of starting a band and pushing further than they had ever gone before made sense.
Other standouts from the album include the brilliantly written Austin, TX; the buoyant chord progression of Let It Burn; and the more tragic track Justine, which is one of the bleaker moments of the album. It makes for a better closer than You're Gone, which doesn't work as well instrumentally (despite more stellar lyrics).
All in all, it seems, when the band breaks for heady and emotive concepts (Scott & Zelda), they hit more peaks than isolated experiences or bigger, broader compositions. It's just the other tracks are much more convincing that this a band to watch out of Brooklyn.
Haunts By Tiny Victories Beats 6.1 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.
With the best of Tiny Victories being bleak, almost punkish vocals over soaring synth and drum work, Walters and Kelly have clearly carved out a sound that is well worth a listen. As they continue to build on architecture that defined their early days, Haunts is the break this band needed from last year's EP.
You can find Haunts by Tiny Victories on Amazon. The album is also available for download from iTunes. For an alternative CD source, visit independent reseller f.y.e. For more updates on the band, visit their Facebook page.