Needle Drop: Red Haven, “Glass House”

Contemporary folk sometimes falls to one flaw, losing its bite between dull arpeggios and slow coos. Enter Red Haven, a band who takes a creative approach to avoid this problem.

Although they’re rooted in the West Coast, the group tells a story that’s also tinged in southeastern spirit. After a trip to New Orleans in 2014, band members Brendan Steele and Jennifer Charters realized the draw of the city’s Cajun charm—returning home only to spike their own tracks with the Bayou’s raucous energy.

Their music is a unique blend of the calm nature of the West with the flowing current of the Mississippi River. The group has played a range of shows—from the warm walls of a living room to the street outside—tackling any venue with genuine alacrity. Their 2015 album Vilified tells a complex story full of interesting twists.

“Glass House” begins with heavy chords atop a crashing cymbal, giving the song a powerful pulse. Charters creates a mysterious tone with her lyrics, “I’m writing for a paper nobody can read.” The song has refreshing wit, and in the latter half the band shatters the expectations of an audience accustomed to traditional folk—a saxophone takes the solo instead of a guitar. It’s quick and gritty, yet soulful—staying true to the New Orleans zeal that glows in many of band’s tracks.

The full album, Vilified is in stores now.

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