Haverford – “Alaskan Summer” Review

Posted: by Colin

The recent surge in demand for emo has led to a supply of bands that have almost equaled the ever-expanding interest in the genre. In the past year or so, new emo bands have begun to sprout up like weeds and grow like wildfire. As a consumer of the genre, it can be difficult to choose what bands to listen to and support, especially when the options are plentiful and the shear amount of recommendations from friends can be overwhelming. With this being said, many bands that deserve your attention can be swept under the carpet without the blink of an eye, or the thought of an attentive ear. However, Haverford is one band you should be tuning into.

The new, well thought out, dreamy effort from Haverford entitled “Alaskan Summer” is a six song EP that will certainly make you feel like you’re in the state and season of which the EP is named after. The EP starts off with Monuments, a soft song with a resolute finish. The simply crafted and constructed song is a well-executed atypical song that fans of emo have certainly heard before. Although this may sound degrading at first, the familiarity of Monuments does an excellent job attracting the listener’s interest, and hopeful expectations of even better things to come. Consequently, Haverford delivers on these newfound expectations.  

Without wasting any time, the EP transitions into Alaska. The song is two minutes and twenty-five seconds of subtle pop infused rock superiority, built upon the band’s familiar foundations of emo. The song reaches a climax filled with rich back-and-forth guitar work, smashing drums, and is ultimately underlined with raspy, melancholy filled vocals delivered in a way that is eerily similar to Northstar’s penultimate song, The Pornographer’s Daughter. Despite this high point, the song doesn’t end there. A brief pause concludes as the music starts to wind up again. Two minutes of hypnotic guitar work adjoins with a steady, repeating drumbeat that accumulates into one of best outros you’ll hear in 2014.

While the EP achieves excellence early on, the dynamic and uniquely written songs by Haverford allow for a solid follow up to such a strong song. Aaron’s Party is an unusually fast paced song ridden with angst and doubtful optimism as the vocalist, seemingly desperate to unleash his lines before the track closes, sings “I used to know what was next for me, now I just want you next to me. I used to make a mess of peace, but I found where to look. It’s more fun to believe.” The Great Bear Rainforest is a slower, well thought out response that addresses the uncertainty presented in Aaron’s Party. Finally, the EP closes with a soft acoustic number that does well to put Alaskan Summer to rest. Rain Candle ties the loose ends of the six tracks together, and thus makes “Alaskan Summer” a full, finished product.

Overall, Haverford’s EP is a six song journey that clocks in at just about seventeen minutes. However, it feels more like a full length, which can be credited to the raw emotion, range, cohesion, and closure embedded within the tracks. Although the band does have an excellent full length to their résumé – Spirit Bear, and a couple of other various releases, this is by far their most outstanding work to date. Alaskan Summer is a culmination of reached potential.


Stream the EP on Haverford’s Bandcamp!

– Colin Mac