The musical brainchild of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Darius Davila, musical trio Haunt Me fuses post-punk, darkwave, indie and alternative into a sonic tapestry that transforms into a funeral shroud. This Sadness Never Ends is a plunge into the dark waters of agonizing melancholia.
Little is known about this Austin-based band, but the mystery lends itself well to its overall brooding sound. Davila’s croon is a soothing balm to the minor chords that accompany his bleak lyrics. The famous Rene Magritte image of The Lovers – two enshrouded people kissing – was rooted in trauma the teenage Magritte suffered as he witnessed his mother’s body recovered from the Sambre River, entangled in the cloth of her dress. This became a recurring motif in his work, a testament to lost life, lost love, and the fragility of the psyche. This haunting painting, in turn, sets the scene for Haunt Me’s album about loss, obsession, isolation, and mortality.
Opening strong with “Dying In Your Arms”, the lyrics take a typical love song into dark territory by comparing it with the death of the soul. “Our Ghosts” hop across the veil, describing the absence of love as a phantasmic torture; a pleading for return. This motif is repeated with “Nothing Lasts” and “Clementine; Dancing In The Dark” addresses toxicity in relationships leading to misery; Into The Black is the realization of and coming to terms with the prospect of isolation in grief; “Destroy Me” continues this rumination; the titular song dives deeper into grief and regrets; and the closing track is a primal howl of “why?”
This is the music you put on when you’re going through it and need someone to pour you some tea and sympathy; it is not an album for new love or even satisfactory love – it is a powerful exorcism of absolute despair, beautifully performed. There are elements of Joy Division and The Cure in the sound, and the lo-fi atmosphere brings to mind Dirty Beaches, but the poetic, narrative songwriting has much more in common with the pathos of Nick Cave and the Pogues’ Shane MacGowan.