REVIEW: Haunt - So Far

Kelly Kirwan

Los Angeles-based duo Haunt live up to their moniker, lingering in a hazy headspace of subdued synth pop and impassive (at times a touch forlorn) vocals. Their self-released EP, So Far, is brimming with '80s electronic influences—like a more brooding Duran Duran—and waves of ennui trying to be outrun. Wyatt Ininns and Victor Pakpour (the men behind the music) may give an impression of listlessness, but they’re not wallowing. They’re restless.

Drawing on Pakpour’s film prowess, the two crafted a complimentary video to their track "Postcard" which conveys just that. Opening with low-pitched, dreamy vocals, we hear, “Late at night / When everyone seems to hide / You don’t fight / Holding it all inside,” as a girl wanders through various abandoned landscapes of LA. As the song progresses, this sense of isolation builds, with our song’s proxy breaking into a run across parking garages and desert stretches, looking over five-lane highways, cigarette in hand—likely in search for what the chorus promises, “You will find me, waiting by your side.” It’s a promise that’s never fulfilled (visually, at least), relaying instead a facet of So Far’s theme: missed, or misplaced, connection.

Or, as Wyatt said of their genre, “we feel our music is more appropriate for a darker or more moody setting.” Haunt has a sound that could score a dark re-envisioning of a John Hughes film, capturing that angst of standing on the sidelines of a high school gymnasium during homecoming—you don’t want to be there, but you don’t want to go unnoticed either. Now, parlay that feeling into adulthood.

So Far oscillates between those moments when you give in to existential contemplation and when you fight against it. For instance, their opening track, "Fade," rallies against the abyss with the repeated phrase, “You just got here / Don’t fade away,” lulling you out of your lonely head. Towards the end, their repetition becomes mantra-like, punctuated only by the occasional question, “Can I make you stay?” delivered in a soft, higher octave. It’s soothing, and instantly familiar—a side effect of simple and impactful writing, paired with their retro new-wave synth.

The fourth and final track of the album, "Dust," also acts as a slow, coaxing encouragement, with low-key vocals musing, “Finding out we’re backwards / Makes a lot more sense / You can’t fill your hours / Only for your friends.” It’s a song that captures a more nuanced kind of solitude—when you lose yourself in other people or the daily grind. Throughout, we're implored to “Keep pressing on / Don’t get left in the dust,” which feels, on one level, like a wary nod to staying relevant, and on the other, a genuine push to carry on. Like the three that came before it, "Dust" feels more ruminating than self-pitying.

So Far meditates on cloudy subject matter, but there’s no “and then the abyss stared into you” that follows. It’s the sort of album you play on long drives or pensive days, letting your mood play out to the tune of ethereal synths and understated lyrics.