There’s so much to love about the complex dream that is Haggert Mctaggert‘s self-titled debut. Haggert Mctaggert is the songwriting outlet of Braden Lawrence. While he plays drums in The Districts and sings and plays guitar in Straw Hats, his unique style of creativity is most vulnerably expressed in this particular project. For the album, Lawrence combined with the endlessly imaginative brain and performance/production talents of Pine Barons‘ Keith Abrams. Together, the pair transformed eight love confessions and life ruminations into a sparkling landscape of mid-tempo pop.
Every sound on the album was carefully chosen, whether it be from an object traditionally considered an instrument or not. Bubbles percolate amongst the wavering “Annie Hall” while the galactic synths of “Home Rule” fit suitably as a dampening backdrop. No song is swallowed by the cushion of accouterment but rather enlivened. “2ndDoorFloor” expands gradually from a structured acoustic guitar riff to include guitars pinging from all directions, swelling harmony, and even a little bit of saxophone.
The album’s layers of tinkering build triumphantly and fade gracefully around the core: a constant sense of gilded isolation. In “TBS,” Lawrence’s weary voice straddles soft reflective verses and a howling chorus all stuck in the same enveloping tedium of his daily routine. Fighting the odd balance between distance and intimacy, Lawrence’s thoughts are personified in distorted echoes and unexpected bursts of fervor. “Landmines” is a slow welcome home with a haunting refrain that is the antithesis of the barreling whirlwind of “Tick.” As a whole, Haggert Mctaggert blossoms into an enchanting world of pop ideal for escaping the monotony and heartache that inspired it.
Favorite Tracks: 2ndDoorFloor, Annie Hall, TBS, & Landmines