A swirl of indie pop and postpunk with a devilish alchemy that summons both blues and beats, The Haunt wouldn’t be out of place at Vivienne Westwood’s late seventies London boutique; a new wave countdown on MTV’s 120 Minutes; baking in the sun at the Vans Warped Tour; or a dystopian dance club in space.
Anastasia Grace and Maxamillion Haunt, the teen duo at the core of the quartet, craft shockingly resonant anthems infused with wistful elegance and raw nerve. Barely old enough to drive in most states, Anastasia is possessed with a voice and sensibility beyond her years, an old soul somehow channeling a timeless essence, with powerfully mature lyricism to back it up. Enigmatic, esoteric, and charming, Anastasia doesn’t just “relate” to teenagers in The Haunt’s audience who have been bullied or otherwise shunned. She quite literally is one of them.
Songs like “Why Are You So Cold?” are filled with passion and ambition. Anastasia glides with relative ease between the otherworldly vibrations of soul siren Amy Winehouse or punk icon Siouxsie Sioux, woven through compositions akin to the time Black Keys collaborated with the Rza. The anti-bullying mini-movie music video that first introduced many to The Haunt, “All Went Black,” was originally penned by Anastasia as a deeply felt battle cry against loneliness and abandonment when she was just 12 years old.
The juxtaposition of Anastasia’s quiet offstage shyness with her commanding vocal preeminence is one of many artistic clarion calls beckoning an increasing number of likeminded devotees into the Haunt’s world. Her daydreaming quirkiness and vintage-meets-Victorian ambience strike familiar chords with those who yearn to live in the pages of Edward Gorey or the films of Tim Burton.
The Haunt is an invitation to the outsider, a blissful surrender to enchantment, melancholy, and disaffected beauty. It’s the soundtrack to the dark romanticism of otherworldly sentimentality. This is lush, theatrical, all-enveloping music outstretching its cold embrace to the overlooked, the exiled, and the castaway.