Haunt Me Redefines Gothic Glamour With Their First-Ever Spanish EP En Tu Cama
The band’s latest six-track EP is a darkly sensual ode to love and longing.
When Austin, Texas-based darkwave band Haunt Me announced that they would be releasing their first-ever Spanish language EP, this would not have come as a surprise to those who already knew the work of multi-instrumentalist Darius Davila heading the project. The band’s image is clear, distinctive, and has the exact right amount of darkness and romanticism. What Davila has created is a world of evocative music and gothic yet artsy album covers that feature avant-garde and darkly humorous snapshots as well as sculpture and references in his work to pieces like The Lovers by René Magritte. A bilingual discography is just the latest demonstration of the group’s influences.
Translating as “In Your Bed”, the EP has lyrics in both English and Spanish but chiefly in the latter. Davila’s voice is smoky and altered with FX that make it drip with gloom in the best way possible. Sonically the band has a lot in common with old goth acts like The Cure, Bauhaus, and Joy Division. This is particularly noticeable in the use of synthesis and repetitive, hypnotic rhythms that cycle around, enveloping the listener in a deliciously grey haze. In addition, Haunt Me is great at summing up the old romanticism of post-punk when it first broke onto the scene. Reinventing this for the modern era, the band adds a greater sense of dread creeping through their music than some of their influences.
Haunt Me kicked off their career with the 6-track EP Vampires at Your Door, released early in 2021, and between releases have chopped and changed their sound throughout the various subgenres of their influences. From post-punk beginnings to the lighter yet more underground sound and hooky vocal motif of “Our Ghosts”, it’s obvious Davila has widely explored both the earlier and more recent influences of the multiple subgenres. The group’s diversity also shows in other areas. One favorite production technique over their previous work has been the layering of sounds to create misty, cloudy soundscapes with fuzzy guitars and synths that are carried in a haze by the drum and bassline. Harking back to early eighties post-punk, the band has sometimes experimented with less modified vocals and a huskier, more indie-rock-based vocal fry in earlier work such as “You’re My Favorite Work of Art”.
In this current release, however, Haunt Me has gone for a thin, jangly sonic background. In some ways, what is said is as much in the silences and drawn-out notes compared with earlier, more upbeat tracks. Moving away then from the influences of early underground music and towards something a bit more cinematic and instrumental, the change of direction works as a strong second step. And En Tu Cama is at its heart an EP that is quieter, more somber, and intimate in a different way compared with any of their previous work.
Before releasing the EP, the group dropped their first single, “Besame”, translating as “Kiss Me”. The rest of the album lives up to the single, with a stand-out track being the titular “En Tu Cama” which has a light and wistful, intricate synth riff that brings back some of the janglier sounds of the post-punk era, similar to the Smiths guitar work.
Lyrically, Davila is great at creating a motif of repeated phrases that linger in your memory. Thus, even though not instrumental, vocals and music merge together to create a sweet yet somber soundscape that is complex and romantic. The same tender yet sinister motifs are present in their previous work such as the 2022 release, the six-track Wish You Were Here, with a characteristically morbid yet humorous artwork of a couple of sheet-ghosts, fitting nicely in with the group’s directive name. If their past work and the way they have steadily built up a fanbase for their relatable yet melancholic tracks, their latest EP is going to be a strong addition to their catalog that speakers of any language can equally enjoy.
Haunt Me stands out with their music that is both mesmerizing, cinematic, glamorous, dark, and yet intimate and human at the same time, striking a sweet spot between the dramaticism of early goth influences like The Cure and the more underground direction they have chosen to take plus their heavy dose of intense feeling that ranges from heartfelt to deeply sensual. Overall, it’s clear Haunt Me loves what they do and Davila easily innovates, making En Tu Cama an exciting new EP that hopefully heralds more of their characteristic exploration in years to come.
Haunt Me’s En Tu Cama EP is out now, available for download and streaming everywhere.
Haunt Me (US)
Featured Image by Haunt Me