Dead Coyote Bring Gore Alive on Apparitionata EP
The poignant paradox punctuating the duration of Apparitionata, the latest Extended Player from Portland’s Dead Coyote, is readily apparent. The title is obviously an allusion to apparitions of some sort, while with tracks entitled “Leave Me in the Ground” and “Lazy Ghost”, it’s clear this work has prominent overtones of the supernatural. For confirmation, just check the band’s moniker.
Plus, the majority of the songs are decorated with the spooky pianos, eerie strings, and tension-filled synths that would do any haunted house—or movies about a haunted house—more than justice. So where does the band get off interrupting these dark, sonic themes with, of all things, dance music?
Again, the upbeat, quirky rhythms that the tunes eventually segue into, regardless of how slow and scary they start off, is merely a testament to the paradoxical nature of this project, which is more like oxymoronic. This contradictory duality is perhaps personified by lead singer Zach Retzi with a tongue-in-cheek delivery that seamlessly transitions from operatic melancholy to the dance floor, if ever any was capable of doing so.
In many ways, his vocalizing is straight out of the classic horror movies and television shows glamorizing that genre. It’s easy to close your eyes and envision him chanting the cliché “it’s alive!” to spectacular effect—when he’s not playing the lead guitar on this collection.
It’s difficult to tell if it’s his vocal cues inspiring the rest of the band or the other players (Jonathan Ventrella on the drums and backing vocals, Izabella Weiss on the bass and background vocals, and Adrian Retzi on the synth) giving him the nod to go from scaring people to spurring them to hit the dance floor. In all likely it’s a tandem of the two with some well rehearsed songwriting to really even things out.
Thus the songs and the EP progress, from haunted horrors to playful two-stepping, from start to finish. “Ground” is notable for exceptional background harmonizing with what sounds like a female (Weiss, perhaps?) that makes even the most opaque tunes immediately accessible and more than a little fun. It’s a fitting performance for a couple of cuts that do the exact same thing.