Trying to unpack and neatly describe Idaho-based Sun Blood Stories' newly released album Haunt Yourself is a difficult task that can't neatly be summed to a single genre.
While solidly indie rock, the album shares more in common with the claustrophobia and experimentation of OK Computer-era Radiohead than with Modest Mouse, even at the height of their weirdness powers. Blues riffs and psychedelic noise collages intermingle with ethereal vocals and reverb-heavy and hypnotic guitars, often in the same song, and while having such a wide palette would be a daunting task for any band, there is an effortlessness to the enormity of sound in Haunt Yourself.
I talked to band members Amber Pollard and Ben Kirby a few days before they set out on a West Coast tour that stops at Ghost on Wednesday Oct. 16 alongside locals Future Scars and up-and-comers The Blackout Pictures.
SFR: How do y’all manage to take all of these intensely different genres and put them into one cohesive package?
Ben Kirby: It's all pretty collaborative, no one is writing one song. It starts where someone might have these words, or a feeling that we want to explore.
I noticed this album, there’s this feeling of unrelenting bleakness throughout. Was that intentional?
Amber Pollard: We pushed all of our trauma into a giant pile, and then put it into the middle of the room, and had a thrift store of the parts. It wasn't intentional, but we wanted to move through our trauma together.
There’s an underlying menace to the sound design that’s evident, can you speak to that?
AP: The music is a form of therapy for all of us. We're not setting out to write songs that people are gonna like, because that's the least important thing when we're writing it. It's about figuring out how to function in our normal life and not take our shit out on other people, and writing music helps us work through that.
What is the thing I should be expecting to see from Sun Blood Stories Live?
BK: We tend to play live in some fashion like the album. We don't stop and talk in between songs.
AP: We're bad at talking on stage, so we don't do it. The show is pretty emotional, personal and loud as fuck. Usually after a show, we're meeting new people, and we get to have all of these conversations about different experiences and memories brought out from the music. It's kind of like a group therapy session.
Sun Blood Stories with Future Scars and The Blackout Pictures:
8 pm Wednesday Oct. 16. $5-$10.
2889 Trades West Road.