Intelligent, creative and a bit spooky

Angel In A Haunted House
Will Keizer
Label: Independent
Length: 10 songs/28 minutes

Angel In A Haunted House by Will Keizer reminds me of work by guitarists like Michael Hedges. Keizer reaches for the edges, especially with the electric guitar. Acoustic is employed to a lesser degree, plus bass, percussion (particularly the sound of snare drum) and keyboards, apparently all played and produced by Keizer. This is has that indie, do-it-yourself kind of feel.

Both the recording and song titles are aptly named. Other-worldly meets the more straightforward. You often hear both within the confines of a single track. After a brief intro, “Floating into the Dark” becomes angelic with shimmering guitar strumming. Shrieks of feedback suddenly break the reverie. This gives way to riffs and a drumbeat that take on darker tones. It’s as if the protagonist has landed and must now begin a journey that will be fraught with danger.

Frequent time changes are common, which makes it interesting. The songs are on the shorter side, all under four minutes. Most are instrumental and even the vocal tracks use words sparingly.

A pleasant surprise was hearing an excerpt from “Li’l Red Riding Hood” (1966) by Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs on “Don’t Go in the Woods.” As a young boy I remember hearing it on the radio:

Hey there Little Red Riding Hood
You sure are looking good
You’re everything a big bad wolf could want

Keizer slows the tempo clearly enunciating, even nailing the “owoooooo!”

This is one of three vocals where he manages to sound different on each one. No redemption in sight on “Did a Bad Thing,” a slow blues rumination. In contrast, the piano-driven “Waltzing with the Dead” is decidedly whimsical.

Appropriately, with a title like “Zombie Gun,” this track is propelled by a rhythm reminiscent of “Peter Gunn Theme.” It also carries some pure electric tones that you hear throughout when Keizer is not using feedback or audio idiosyncrasies. It reminded me of early Blue Oyster Cult, the sound of metal echoing through deep space.

Some might consider this cinematic, background music for an angel surveying earth’s fallen landscape. It’s intelligent, creative and a bit spooky.

Michael Dalton