Great American House Fire - Promise Me Endings [EP] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Great American House Fire

Promise Me Endings [EP] (2018)

Snappy Little Numbers

I don’t do a lot of reviews of local Denver bands, and I really should because there’s some great music in the local scene from Wiredogs (I can’t tell if this band is still active, but they are amazing if they are), Rotten Reputation (although I’m a little peeved at their lead singer for unfriending me on Facebook, but whatever), Dryer Fire, Zealot, Teacup Gorilla, Cheap Perfume, and the sadly defunct but occasionally resurrected Truckasaurus. But today let’s talk about one of Denver’s great treasures, Great American House Fire.

I learned about Great American House Fire when I became friends with Miriam “Mia” Suzanne from the band Teacup Gorilla. Mia and I became friends when I wandered into a random concert at my favorite venue in town, the Lion’s Lair, on a night when Teacup Gorilla was playing and we realized that we were the only two trans people in the room. We bonded over this and became friends, and she introduced me to another trans sister, Josselyn “Josie” Cool, and her band that Mia thought I would like, Great American House Fire. At this point, I feel it necessary to fully disclose that Josie helped me move out of my last apartment and that I think she’s an all around awesome person, but I think I can stay objective. Josie is one of two trans woman guitarists in the band, the other being the amazing Mika Berkesch. So the fact that the band has two feet in the trans community is a big plus in my book, but honestly, I love them for their music, not just because trans girls gotta stick together.

The band is fronted by the irrepressible Kristin Garramone, whose deep, powerful voice would work in virtually any genre. Honestly, in another life Garramone could have been a cabaret jazz singer, so the fact that she’s been generous enough to front a punk outfit is a gift. Josie always tries to tell me that her band is pop-punk/emo, but I think her description is just a tad off. I see it as less pop-punk and more post hardcore, with some definite emo leanings. The pop elements come through very subtly, and on their new EP, Promise Me Endings, which has been a long time coming due to continuous lineup changes, the band comes off as a darker, sultrier version of Pretty Girls Make Graves. And with a third guitarist, Danny Stewart, in addition to Cool and Berkesch, the three guitar attack creates a deeply complex sound.

The opening track, “St. Lynnrad,” takes a lesson from the Pixies’ loud-quiet-loud school of hard rock, with some killer opening riffs giving way to some very tender moments later on in the song. The next song, “This is Me Fucking Up,” is a bit mellower, but with a slow build to some harder moments. I always say that subtlety is underrated in punk, and subtlety is something that Great American House Fire is very skilled at. “Guided Tour of the Black Hills” is a great song overall, but even if it wasn’t it would be worth it for how perfectly the gang vocal of “What does that asshole know?” works. Remember how I said Garramone could have been a cabaret jazz singer in another lifetime? Well, I think she proves that beyond the shadow of a doubt in the intro to “The Seven Celestial Brides of Texas.” The closer, “Molotov Cocktail Hobbyist,” which admittedly sounds like the title of an At the Drive-In song, ends the EP in an upbeat tone of hope where, once again, the sparingly used gang vocals really make the song pop. That’s one of the things I love about this EP: it’s dark and moody, but it doesn’t really feel pessimistic at any point.

The other night, I accidentally managed to fall asleep for 11 hours straight, and the entire time I had Promise Me Endings on repeat in the background, which made for some interesting dreams, as there is a certain dreamlike quality to the EP. I have to say, I would recommend it. Sleeping with the EP on, that is, not the sleeping for 11 hours part. Denver has a plethora of amazing bands to check out, and despite coming from Providence and having lived in Boston, Denver’s is the music scene I’ve felt the most connection to and gotten the most joy from in my life, and Great American House Fire is one of my absolute favorite parts of the local scene.