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The Haunted Youth, the band of 29-year-old Joachim Liebens, has become a Belgian indie sensation in no time. The songs, often about the struggle of life but coated in gloriously dreamy guitars and synths, are therapy to Liebens, and strike a chord with fans and critics all over Europe. Singles like Teen Rebel, Coming Home and Broken are met with rave reviews, even in the US. With their red-hot live reputation and the debut album coming out in November, The Haunted Youth is here to stay.
Dawn Of The Freak
- Released: November 2022
I Feel Like Shit And I Wanna Die
- Released: October 2022
- Released: June 2022
Broken 12" Maxi Single
- Released: March 2022
- Released: December 2021
- Released: June 2021
- Released: January 2021
The Haunted Youth
The Haunted Youth, the band of 29-year-old Joachim Liebens, has become a Belgian indie sensation in no time. The songs, often about the struggle of life but coated in gloriously dreamy guitars and synths, are therapy to Liebens, and strike a chord with indie lovers all over Europe and even the US. Every single is a hit and debut album Dawn Of The Freak is enthusiastically received by the critics and adored by the fans. With a red-hot live reputation to boot, The Haunted Youth are here to stay.
Dawn Of The Freak
2022 - album
CD | 12" vinyl | digital
2022 - maxi
12" vinyl | DIGITAL
Gone - Monks. Remix
2023 - single
I Feel Like Shit And I Wanna Die
2022 - single
2021 - single
NEW SINGLE | King Viktor - Riptide (feat. The Haunted Youth)
New album | the haunted youth - dawn of the freak, nominated | the haunted youth is music moves europe awards nominee @ esns '23, new single | the haunted youth - i feel like shit and i wanna die, new single + video | the haunted youth - teen rebel.
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Essaying the pop culture that matters since 1999
The Haunted Youth Forges Superior Dream Rock on ‘Dawn of the Freak’
The Haunted Youth’s Dawn of the Freak sports dream rock veering from thoughtful to Autobahn-kinetic while cultivating a background mood ideal for moping.
There’s a moment early in the Haunted Youth’s glorious seven-minute opus “Gone” that, in a saner world, should make every indie-rock fan above a certain age drop his pen in awe. As the layered keyboards, buzzing synths, and echoing guitars swirl round and round the ether, one realizes what a fabulous highway-driving song “Gone” is. Ever since the muscle-car era of “Sweet Emotion” or Bachman Turner Overdrive circa 1974, how many of those do we hear every day? Best of all, there are several more to enjoy on the Haunted Youth’s impressive debut, Dawn of the Freak .
The Haunted Youth is the ambitious English-language solo project of 29-year-old Belgian wunderkind Joachim Liebens. According to his Bandcamp bio, music is Liebens’ way of facing his past demons and writing them out of his system. “It’s therapy, a way of dealing with my existence,” he says. Old farts like myself are reflexively wary of comparative whippersnappers moaning about the malevolent vicissitudes of life and love – see Swift, Taylor. If you want to impress Xanax-popping, Drano-swilling Gen-Xers, try singing about divorce, mortgages, ailing elderly parents, and scrimping for college. But we digress. Dawn of the Freak is earning accolades pretty much everywhere except the US, and with good reason. This is an evocative and variegated record that veers from thoughtful to Autobahn-kinetic and back again, all while cultivating a sophisticated background mood ideal for bedroom moping, if that’s your thing.
Too vigorous in places for mere dream pop, Dawn sounds more like ‘dream rock’ as it revs up the Hemi engine on powerful tracks like “Broken” and “Gone”. For the second time in a month, we are compelled to name-check the prototypical 1999 indie highway anthem “17 Berlin” by My Favorite, whose euphoric exhaust trail still lingers two decades later. That wide-open ‘James Dean’ road high often proves impossible to replicate; even My Favorite themselves couldn’t manage it again. But Liebens does a fine job when he puts his mind to it. At least five times by my count – even if a couple of his more introspective creations play ‘pothole’ against the propulsive 0-60 energy he is obviously capable of.
The initial single “Teen Rebel” has gotten plenty of overseas press, though it’s one of the more subdued and repetitive tracks on Dawn . Suicidal dirge “I Feel Like Shit and I Wanna Die” is about as uplifting as it sounds, quite listenable in its own right but edging a tad close to soporific Field Mice drum-machine terrain. Heartfelt album finale “Fist in My Pocket” echoes classic Johnny Cash but still reinforces the general impression that Liebens’ songwriting prowess lies elsewhere. Best among the reflective numbers is the effortlessly haunting “House Arrest”, whose piercing lamentation “TAKE ME AWAY!” endures long after the song fades out. Then Liebens brings the monster truck rally right back on schedule with the penultimate track, “Coming Home”, another strikingly on-target road tune.
One easily avoided pet peeve: “Gone” is also available in an edited five-minute version, as opposed to its original seven minutes. Though why anyone would want to eviscerate such a worthwhile epic is beyond me.
The LP is widely considered passè as an art form in a universe of streamed singles. Dawn of the Freak could also be rated as two albums in one, the ‘road trip’ portion being superior. But for those old-school dinosaurs who prefer a blend of styles on their long players, the Haunted Youth’s promising debut shouldn’t be missed.
- The Haunted Youth: Official Site
The Haunted Youth
The Haunted Youth is the band of Hasselt-based Joachim Liebens (27), playing mesmerizing psych pop reminiscent of MGMT, DIIV, Slowdive or, we dare even say, The Cure. The songs – about despair, hope, and the feeling of being a misunderstood misfit – are coated in a rich and dreamy international sound that will sweep you off your feet.
Debut single ‘ Teen Rebel ’ certainly hit the mark: The Haunted Youth won Studio Brussel’s talent contest De Nieuwe Lichting, and ‘Teen Rebel’ got a lot of airplay in Belgium and abroad. It even drew attention across the pond, where it made the front page of the well-known and influential American online magazine Consequence of Sound.
And this is all just the beginning. Wait until you hear the songs live, they will blow your mind.
The Haunted Youth is there for you and is here to stay.
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The Haunted Youth Hasselt, Belgium
- Nov 02 Iceland Airwaves Festival Reykjavík, Iceland
- Nov 02 Mutations Festival Brighton, UK
- Nov 02 Mutations Festival - Weekend Ticket Brighton, UK
- Nov 05 Mutations Festival - Sunday Day Ticket Brighton, UK
- Nov 07 The Shacklewell Arms London, UK
- Nov 09 Les 4Ecluses Dunkirk, France
- Nov 15 KiFF Aarau, Switzerland
- Nov 16 Spielboden Dornbirn, Austria
- Nov 18 Werkstätten- & Kulturhaus (WUK) Vienna, Austria
- Nov 19 A38 Ship / A38 Hajó Budapest, Hungary
- Nov 21 Cross Club Prague, Czech Republic
- Nov 22 LUX Hannover, Germany
- Nov 23 FRANNZ Club Berlin, Germany
- Nov 24 Rust Copenhagen, Denmark
- Dec 07 DE ROMA Borgerhout, Belgium
- Dec 08 DE ROMA Borgerhout, Belgium
- Dec 12 Rotondes Luxembourg, Luxembourg
- Dec 13 REFLEKTOR Liège, Belgium
- Dec 14 013 Tilburg, Netherlands
- Dec 15 VERA Groningen, Netherlands
- Dec 17 Paradiso Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Dec 18 TivoliVredenburg Utrecht, Netherlands
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