Seductive singer/songwriter and producer Poe returns with a bombastic second release Haunted, making for a mind-blowing intimate account of her relationship with her father, well-known lecturer and talented documentary filmmaker Tad Danielewski. Shifting around the gnarling reign of powerhouse femininity draped over her debut Hello (1995), Poe is much stronger on Haunted's layers of therapy, and that's certainly impressive for a sophomore effort. She splices in spooky stints of her late father's recorded voice to converse with him in an attempt at closeness, therefore making Haunted a story of sorts. It is more like a story anyway: Poe's novelist brother Mark Z. Danielewski wrote The House of Leaves (2000), and the music found on Haunted is an eerie account of the book itself, serving cathartic measures for both Poe and her brother.
The overall album is sexy, in fact hauntingly so with Poe's vocals growling and bellowing for self-appreciation and individualism, especially on the title track and "Control." The third song into the record, "Control" is an excellent track with crashing percussion and mysterious backdrops from her father, which are layered over goth-like string arrangements and Poe's emotional roar. The quick flamenco stylings of "Spanish Doll" are sheer in the face of the tempestuous "Walk the Walk," and "Wild" keeps up with the bold in the midst of its brisk, moody complexity due to Poe's self-searching process of acceptance and retaliation at being disregarded. Haunted's initial concept alone alone is brilliant. Poe has outdone herself creatively and artistically; the drum machines and overlapping guitar riffs among her sampled vocals and stretched lyrics make this album more of a modern-day epic. It is also a sweet tribute to her late father, and a nice composite to speak to him. Sadly, Poe's work might not be welcomed in the mainstream, which is disappointing because her original compositions have the makings for a new music revolution alongside the likes of Radiohead's Kid A. Haunted is in its own class of twisted intelligence and beauty.