Kaspar Hauser is a Glasgow-based trio (Josh Longton, Anne Kastner, and Andy Brown) on the darker side of post-punk. Think a few shades darker: deathrock, no question! I’m honestly surprised these guys are just now hitting my radar. Their self-titled EP, which was released on Soft Power Records back in May, is extremely addicting because of their noisey take on the subgenre – relatable lyrical content, and overall variation (this is a dual vocal band, my favorite kind). This band really helps bridge the gap between noise and deathrock in a uniquely modern way.
The very first track, “Pencil Doings,” really sets the tone for the EP. This track starts off sounding very traditionally post-punk, but quickly delves into darkness. Josh’s vocal tone is very unamused as he sings about a typical privileged middle class type who tries sucking up to famous people. “Pencil Doings” is a quote from a 1971 British satire film by the name of Carry On At Your Convenience, and the sample is in the track as well, bringing the relevancy full circle. My personal favorite lyrics in this song are “No you can’t be in the band yet” – I can’t help but laugh, it’s like you know the exact type of person they’re singing about!
Track two, “Enigma,” is definitely on the noisey side of deathrock. It begins with thumping drums not unlike that of Joy Division. Anne’s reverberated, higher pitched vocals are actually reminiscent of Andi Sexgang in tone when paired with the noisey, chanting guitar. The lyrics are much more difficult to decipher, which is how noise should be.
The next song is “Tannoy,” perhaps named after the British loudspeaker manufacturing company based in Coatbridge, Scotland (I can’t decipher enough of the lyrics to know for sure). This is the most down tempo song on the album, but it still contains a lot of energy. It comes off as much more serious than the first two songs with a definite darkwave vibe. Very cold, deep vocals that command. This is the song I think of when I look at the album cover.
The final song, “Dole Inside,” is my personal favorite and a strong choice for the last track. It starts off with a noisey and eerie tone similar to early 80s Siouxsie and the Banshees, with a bouncing bass. The guitar is extremely reminiscent of 80s deathrock in a way that would entice anyone darkly inlined. Anne’s spiteful reverberated vocals complete the batcave vibe nicely, and are definitely the highlight. While the majority of the lyrics are difficult to decipher because of the noisey reverberation, I can make out “I saw the Virgin Mary / her poor face has been replaced by Kim Kardashian’s face,” and that’s enough for me! I’m completely sold.