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Haken – “1985”


A few weeks ago, my significant other picked me up from work, and put a CD in the car.

“You’re never going to guess what this band is,” she said, before creepy synths started playing.

Like many of you, we’ve been obsessed with Netflix’s 80’s-obsessed science fiction television series ‘Stranger Things’, including it’s creeping moog synth theme music. Given that, I assumed she had gotten a promo copy of the new album by S U R V I V E, two members of which composed said theme song, and who also have an album coming out on Relapse.

I figured out it wasn’t S U R V I V E when the electronics segued into glorious prog metal while maintaining the 80’s fetishism. The album, as it turned out, Affinity by the UK’s Haken.

“When did they become Yes in 1982?”

Yes – pun intended – it’s true, Haken have embraced retro-fetishism completely. For example, the group’s newest single is called “1985.” It’s both better than Kvelertak’s “1985” and features a keyboard solo that sounds like the boss fight music from some obscure NES game. Jen Bogren the producer of a few albums by Paradise Lost (as well as, um, Paradise Lost by Symphony X), smartly keeps the djenty guitar riffs in the background for most of the record. I never liked Haken before, but I keep revisiting Affinity so much so that I plan on seeing the band on their upcoming US tour (dates below). Yes, it’s cheesy in the extreme, but tremendously enjoyable if you don’t take the music, or yourself, too seriously. Blast it loud enough and maybe your Volkswagen Jetta, with all of its fraudulent emissions, will grow gullwing doors and become a time machine.

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Aug.30: Chicago, IL – Reggie’s
Aug.31: Niagra Falls, NY – Rapid’s Theater
Sept.1: Toronto, ON – Mod Club
Sept. 2: Montreal, QC – Club Soda
Sept.3: Quebec City, QC – L’Imperial
Sept.4: Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
Sept.6: New York, NY – Marlin Room
Sept.7: Philadelphia. PA – Founday
Sept.8: Frederick, MD – Café 611
Sept.9: Canal Club – Richmond, VA
Sept.10: ProgPower USA – Atlanta, GA
Sept.12: Southport Music – New Orleans, LA
Sept.13: Gas Monkey Bar & Grill – Dallas, TX
Sept.14: Rockbox – San Antonio, TX
Sept.16: Joe’s Grotto – Phoenix, AZ
Sept.17: Complex – Los Angeles, CA
Sept. 18: Brick & Mortar – San Francisco, CA
Sept.20: El Corazon – Seattle, WA
Sept.21: Ash Street Saloon – Portland, OR

While we’re at it, here’s the rest of the released tracks from Affinity.

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The release date of Affinity has been corrected

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