The Haints of Dean Hall: The Haints of Dean Hall
By Kent Walsdorf
The Haints of Dean Hall are Auckland-based Stephen Reay, (formerly of the Subliminals), and Kathryn McCool who currently resides in a small town near Melbourne. The two began recording their debut in the summer of 2005 around a 'wonder what would happen if' attitude - impromptu lyrics and one mic that was far enough away so they wouldn't wake the baby. You might assume that this would head towards an amateur, ruff and dismissive result. Wrong. The haunting but beautiful vocals, coupled with the simple harmonic and rhythmic support of the acoustic guitar, create a daunting and sparse minimilistic framework for this album. Subtle use of the chimey, dancing, distorted guitar adds to the fragility and contemplative qualities while the inclusion of the banjo sends us towards a rural tradition. There is something about this work that creates a warm ghostly atmosphere, allowing you to wander though it, and consider it. Tex Houston did the final mixing and mastering - a job well done too. Released though Arch Hill Recordings and is a recommended eerie folk listen.