A good bit of natural uncertainty seems to surround new local trio Habitat, who for a time only played intermittently between each member’s full-time band schedule and who have yet to formally record even one original song for public consumption. Through most interpretations, the band is nothing more than a side project: guitarist Andrew Landry and drummer Evan Cvitanovich, better known as noise punk duo High In One Eye, have noticeably been lending their talents as near-bit players in acts like Glish and the now-defunct Country Club. However, with Country Club’s recent break-up freeing up the creative juices of singer and guitarist Jack Donovan, Habitat – for now – appears to be a growing priority among these three musicians. And with a couple of recent Saturday amblings through the eyes and ears avid New Orleans showgoers under their belts, Habitat has already managed to be one of the most thrilling live bands in the entire city.
With a deceptively schizophrenic meld of melody and dissonance executed to near perfection with the anchorage of Cvitanovich’s highly-intricate, jawd-dropping timekeeping ability, Donovan’s and Landry’s guitars play off one another like a musical oil and water mixture that’s been attempted in the past but never performed this smoothly and kinetically; avoiding the predilection to come off sounding disjointed or overly abstract, Habitat’s marriage of ostensibly disparate styles (often hazily resembling Lightning Bolt if they coyly misdirected listeners with a mathematical jaunt through little suites of Lawn Boy-era Phish) manages to be both infectious and compelling. In one set Donovan, Landry and Cvitanovich seamlessly wove together mathrock, post rock, Americana, noise, punk, modal jazz and acid rock – a fusion that, though often disorienting, was aptly tempered by an easily-discernible, intrinsic rhythm that forced a sea of heads at the Howlin’ Wolf Den to bob, nod and bang without care for the space around them.
With no indication of when they plan to formally record or whether they even plan to perform regularly, Habitat’s forward trajectory is still largely tentative. But after Saturday night’s Howlin’ Wolf performance, a dynamic follow-up to their show-stealing set at the Art House just a week prior, their already rabid following can’t help but be convinced of the band’s promise. For surprising emphasis, Revivalists guitarist Zack Feinberg made a point during his own band’s set to shed a light on the trio’s “mindblowing” live show, endorsing the sudden rumblings of acknowledgment that have been making their way through the music community. The future aside, it’s clear that Habitat’s place in the local consciousness is already deep-rooted.