Haute Tension | Haute Tension

Haute Tension

Family Average: 5/7

It is getting Haute in here so lets all listen to this new album! Wow okay, I have never really felt this kind of embarrassment from something I typed myself. Anyway moving on. Haute Tension is a fiery surf punk group firing waves of positive energy from their home turf of Miami, Florida. On their debut album, they bust out a fierce collection tunes. Fans of surf punk and shimmery guitar rejoice!

Listen along on Their Bandcamp and read on to find out:


To start, I am a huge fan of this album cover.

After that first track I was not expecting “Dano,” sounds like the soundtrack to Pulp Fiction.

They have a really cool sound, different. With all those instruments and then that haunting deep voice. They have sounds of many decades. Jazzy, spy movie-esque, but with the classic, old-school surf music sound as well.  Wow and then in “Comment” that deep voice is singing in straight up French. It all works.

I was reminded of other bands, but I can’t think of anyone else who’s got every single one of these elements.

They really laid it all of there on “What Would You Say.”

I was entertained the whole time, it never dragged on, I hope they can follow this up with something else that's engrossing like this debut.



I went rogue and listened to this out of order, so the first track I heard was “What Would You Say.” Ugh, I do love that woozy guitar. Combined with a crazy percussion solo, I was hooked hard. These guys are surf-punks after my own heart. They may hail from Miami, but I got a sort of French New Wave vibe to it all too. Serge Gainsbourg, where you at? I can totally see him being in on this, especially on tracks like “Dano” with that dizzy trumpet, or “Comment” when they are literally singing in French. Regardless, these guys have sussed their own sound. It’s experimental but familiar enough not to be too polarizing. I loved the somewhat disparate mix of bouncy instruments combined with the growling, deep vocals. It’s so well-layered and interesting that my ear was practically glued to the speakers, eager to catch every detail. And despite its jangly, surfy nature, there’s this underlying darkness to it all that makes it feel suited to be a Tarantino soundtrack. Kind of nonlinear but narrative, completely immersive and a little bit weird. A lot weird.



Right off the bat, the vocals very much surprised me after listening to the intro. The deep voice and fast beats, I do not think go together. I also had a hard time even understanding some lyrics.  With that aside, the beats were wonderful and made the album listenable to. I especially like the synth (I think that’s the instrument) in the song What Would You Say. I listened to this album while touring South Africa and the vibe definitely did not fit the scenery. Other than the beats, I don’t have a whole lot to say. I just didn’t feel the music and couldn’t relate. 



One of my favorite surfboards was a 6/2 Haute, so this band had to live up to my expectations and I am happy to say that they did. The first track is upbeat a real attention grabber than “Dano” does not disappoint, my assumption is that the song is named after a character from the  TV show Hawaii Five O. I really like their music, they portray the fun side of Punk, which is normally an angry type of music but these guys, with lots of reverb and trebble, bring a lighter side to Punk, how can you feel anything but happy? The “Climb” showed real promise, it builds with the bass and then the drums, with a catchy refrain this could have been their “Rock Lobster” mega hit but it fell short, but i think they did that on purpose, in order to avoid commercial appeal. I believe this band enjoys living underground in an alternative society.  I would love see them live at a beach festival or a huge summer party, their energy is similar to the B-52’s. They have the perfect mixture of talent, passion and humor. This band is a party and you can’t help but to have a good time.



Oh boy how do they get that swampy sound? It is nuts. Totally bonkers. I have this same reaction listing to a host of different bands from different genres. That being said, that weird kinda swampy vibe connects them all. I hear it pop up in rock acts like Gun Club, Hasil Adkins, Dale Hawkins, but even in metal bands like Acid Witch. It transcends the genre itself and instead becomes this lovely green film layered over everything. Haute Tension comes from Miami Florida, and they found that swampy sound, and draped it around their own amazing brand of kind of jangly post-rock sound. Low, deep down vocals, and trembling rugged guitar cut through the barrage of symbols. Oh it is a real lovely scene. The entire album makes you feel like you are watching some kind of occult ritual through a crack in a wall of a spooky hotel you stayed in because it was the only vacancy for the next 100 miles. Stay scary, stay real Haute Tension. This is a band that knows what they are, and I like that. I will say as a closing note that may have belonged somewhere closer to the middle, my favorite track on the album was, “What Would You Say”. That track busts into a jam that really just brings the house down.


Sean Maldjian