"Sophe Lux has dazzled." -SPIN
Haynes started performing with her Portland, Oregon band known as Sophe Lux in 2005. With the help of this talented line up Haynes recorded and produced the critically acclaimed album Waking The Mystics (2007) engineered by Adam Selzer (The Decemberists, Fleet Foxes, M Ward). The album was a collective effort between songwriter Haynes and her band: Twayn Williams on guitar, Erika Miller on bass and vocals, Kelly Goodwin on Keys, synths vocals and accordion, and Scott Appleman on drums.
Members of the original line up toured the US with shows at Joe's Pub in NYC and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. Sophe Lux has performed at The Portland Art Museum, at The PICA Art Festival, Golden Gate Park San Francisco, On WNYC's "Soundcheck," LIVE Wire Radio, and KCRW.
"Sophe Lux’s lead singer and songwriter, Gwyneth Haynes, is the sister of flamboyant filmmaker Todd Haynes (Velvet Goldmine, Far from Heaven) and clearly has inherited a family flair for theatrics. Her voice has a wondrous, shape-shifting quality — soft and delicate one moment, manic and banshee-like the next — as the group cheekily tackles topics from somnambulism to robots. Don’t miss the standout tracks “Target Market,” “Little Soldier of Time,” and the awesomely schizophrenic “Electra 33.” -THE OBSERVER
Haynes went on to produce the EP Hungry Ghost (2009) (engineered by Sean Flora) and then All Are One (2016) under the name Sophe Lux & The Mystic (engineered by Larry Crane).
Sophe Lux songs have appeared on The Vampire Diaries (Electrra 33), It's a Beautul Life (Void of Course), and Gravity (Target Market).
“From the cabaret to the theatre to the lit class to the recital hall – and then down the rabbit hole – the record touches on a number of styles, and pulls them all off with panache, thanks in large part to Haynes’ inspired songwriting and versatile vocal dramatics.”-RED ALERT
Haynes was born and raised in Los Angeles. Her songwriting has been described as "visionary" and "brainy" with references to her muses Nietzsche, William Blake, the french theorists, and Martin Luther King. Her diverse influences show up in her songs with musical homages to Stravinsky, Bach, French Opera, Brecth, Kate Bush, Quincy Jones, and Billy Holiday.
Haynes explores ideas about consumerism, culture, and politics in theatrical operettas or tongue in cheek cabaret numbers: Target Market, God Doesn't Take American Express, Hungry Ghost).
Haynes examines barriers of class and race in All Are One and Love is Waiting.
She writes about ecological concerns with The Love Comet and The Infinite Colors of Desire.
Haynes is working on a new album about technology. It is inspired by the novel 1984.
"I DARE you: gaze into this lady’s ecstatic theater-of-the-future and go freaking mad from the transcendent sublime prophetic vision you receive! Or, maybe I should say: I dare you NOT TO"-Tiny Mix Tapes
“The band's tumbling melodies, trippy lyrics, eclectic instrumental arrangements, and all-out pageantry have dazzled…Sophe Lux blends elements of the Dresden Dolls, Queen, French opera, Ella Fitzgerald, and, yes, Dante to achieve some awesomely bizarre, dark and sweet sound-scapes. The collective employs tinkling bells, harpsichords, and carnivalesque accordions as Haynes theatrically croons lyrics inspired by the works of Nietzsche and William Blake.” -SPIN
"These guys totally get it. And by “it” I mean the concept of modern music as serious art that still manages to entertain; something Freddie Mercury and Bryan Ferry and Peter Gabriel...got a long time ago. This is about ten minutes of outstanding theatrical rock that lasts considerably longer, mostly because the two tracks on this EP will replay several times before you become a little concerned about attracting flies to your gaping mouth and pop the thing out of your CD player. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard such enthusiastically faithful attention paid to the critical factors that make serious theatrical rock work really well; with the ‘Hungry Ghost’ EP we get to witness what could become the birth of a new art rock classic."-MUSIC GEEK
“These guys totally get it. And by “it” I mean the concept of modern music as serious art that still manages to entertain; something Freddie Mercury and Bryan Ferry and Peter Gabriel and I suppose even Peter Hammill got a long time ago. This is about ten minutes of outstanding theatrical rock that lasts considerably longer, mostly because the two tracks on this EP will replay several times before you become a little concerned about attracting flies to your gaping mouth and pop the thing out of your CD player. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard such enthusiastically faithful attention paid to the critical factors that make serious theatrical rock work really well; with the ‘Hungry Ghost’ EP we get to witness what could become the birth of a new art rock classic.”
“With well-crafted songs and an expressive leading lady, ‘Waking the Mystics’ is poised to be a cult classic.”-INDIANNA UNIVERSITY DAILY PRESS
"Like the progenitors of the form, Queen, and the torchbearers of today, The Decemberists, this Portland, Ore., group isn’t afraid to add pageantry and spectacle to its music. “Waking the Mystics,” is so layered and heavily orchestrated that it’s simply too much to absorb in one listen. The display may seem overdone at first but reveals more of its genius each time. Combining music that never goes for easy hooks with equally deep lyricism, “Waking the Mystics” is the kind of effort you wish more artists were daring and adventurous enough to attempt."-NUVO.NET
“There is a distinct Edwardian-era vibe to Sophe Lux, a quartet from Portland, Oregon consisting of three talented ladies and one drum-playing gent. The star of this operatic show is Ms. Gwyneth Haynes, who writes hilariously unexpected lyrics and sings them with a vibrant, swashbuckling flair. Her voice is so operatically charged, in fact, that I can't picture Ms. Haynes in anything but a crenlin-enhanced ball gown. It makes Waking The Mystics an extremely vibrant experience, one not easily forgotten. Be sure to peep "God Doesn't Take American Express."-BREAKTHRU RADIO
“Fandango guitars, martial snare drums, hurdy-gurdy carnival rhythms and Operatic choruses converge in mysterious melodies swirling around thoughtful lyrics. It's a kaleidoscopic ride through sonic landscapes seldom explored in recent years.”-SHEPPHERD EXPRESS
"This band has been dazzling the music scene with waltz beats, organ riffs, and angelic sounding choruses about things like robots and hypnosis. With addictive pop hooks and talent galore their new album "Waking The Mystics" is one you'll want to play over and over again…Sophe Lux's lead singer Gwynneth Haynes has created a Tim Burtonesque stage persona that can't help but force people to compare her to the seminal female scarester vocalist, PJ Harvey. Except Haynes is more playful. Scratch that. She's younger. That's all I mean. And her band has embraced all the accordion-playing cabaret irony (with synthesizers) of our confused latter years, complete with Nietzsche references and reflections on God. Like PJ Harvey was in the '90s, it's music to stand in front of and smoke and look clever, yet sufficiently fun, fashion-conscious, and self-effacing to possibly have sex with afterward.”–PORTLAND MERCURY
“It was love at first listen.”–DELUSIONS OF ADEQUCY
"Like Nina Hagen, Harlequin Jones, and Katzenjammer Kabarett, Sophe Lux plays spectacle rock, where the performance experience is a confluence of art, experiment, words, and music—think "Cabaret" for the 21st Century. Sophe Lux's previous albums, Waking the Mystics and Plastic Apple, received critical acclaim, including Spin Magazine's Artist of the Day (February 7, 2007). With Sophe Lux's operatic vocals, fearless lyrics and quirky hooks, I'll be looking forward to their next concoction.”-CAUGHT IN THE CAROUSEL
“When one thinks of ‘theatrics’ in rock in the U.S., one may reflect along the lines of Alice Cooper. In the U.K., it’s probably more towards the Who. In fact, British rockers have more readily adopted Dance Hall than we have with, say, Tin Pan Alley. “Waking the Mystics” (zarathustrarecords.com) by SOPHE LUX, from the U.S. West Coast, is the brilliant brainchild of Gwynneth Haynes, who wrote most of the music here and mixes rock, theatric technic, a vivid imagination, and a band who is totally attuned, and has produced a collection that stands out. The music never talks down to the listener, and certainly is thoughtful…with some killer tunes with that said theatrical touch. Plus, the CD is enhanced so one can watch their brilliant “Target Market” video, which is the opening cut and a possible breakthrough shot." -Robert Barry Francos Fanzine
“Sophe Lux is helping to carve out a new genre in American music that has no limits to the influences that can be drawn from. Call it operatic pop, rock, cabaret, existential glam-The fact is these newcomers have found a way to express themselves that is both instantly familiar and eternally persona.l”-Brian Rademakers, NORTHEAST TIMES
“Seriously well crafted pop songs, dark, provocative lyrics, sung by a killer voice and gloriously catchy pop hooks. This is the art-rock I grew up with back with a vengeance.”- DUGGUP
“Dramatic and retro, full of synths and a sort of throwback arena rock momentousness, Sophe Lux covers more ground than most bands ever set foot on.”-EUGENE WEEKLY
While the EP is only two songs long, there is enough seduction and redemption for an entire record. The title track begins with punchy 70’s arena glam that’s dripping with the sugar of the Sweet and a touch of Heart. The grandiose keyboards in the mix pump up the drama even more in an over the top Styx kind of way that rides the line between the awesome and the ridiculous. “Hungry Ghost” morphs into austere, multi-layered choral harmonies and builds back up to its initial power before Haynes puts on the preacher’s collar and tries to cure America of her ills – cabaret revival style. “Seduced by the whores of culture, you have betrayed the veracity of your soul” she spits. It’s earnest and angry, in a way that borders on campy, and I couldn’t help but think of some of John Cameron Mitchell’s monologues in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Next comes “Sophia Song,” which is darker and invokes the sounds of Switchblade Symphony and Cocteau Twins while retaining some of the filigreed edges of “Hungry Ghost.” There are marching drums and haunting harmonies, and in the closing moments we are left with Haynes’ strange operatic soprano floating by as a burbling synth line softly plays beneath."-THE BIG TAKEOVER
"It appears that Nietzsche’s influence of challenging conventional norms is working for Haynes" -Psychology Today
"Haynes' keyboard playing is as pure and as potent as a mountain stream in spring, and as deft and as deliciously disorientating as a magician, while her voice is one that has engaged with love and life, and has matured its soul through the eyes of an all-embracing mystical being. Haynes embodies an infusion of Kate Bush, Tori Amos, PJ Harvey, Cat Power and Bjork." -Tuned Loud 2017
"There is plenty to savor on this ambitious album that looks at the heart of humanity as much as it does into the echelons of the universe. This is a superb collection of songs that contemplate life and the planet in all its glorious manifestations and moments. The recording is without question a profound statement artistically" -TunedLoud 2017
"Breathtaking" -SEA OF TRAQUILITY
"Sophe Lux has got something, and it’s more than wide-eyed flamboyance that says ‘artsy’: she has a charisma that radiates from every note and between every note. Mystic(al) and magical, All Are One is at once a pop album, and something joyously different." -AURALAGRIVATION
" ‘Driving’ and ‘soul’ are exactly the right words, as are ‘revelation,’ ‘ecstasy,’ and ‘timeless.’ Swaying on that naturally grooving tightrope perched equidistant between Aretha and Grace where both of them are channeling Janis, set against a smooth soulful strut a la Booker T if he’d hired Willie Mitchell and headed off to Muscle Shoals, this thing is a marvel of neo-soul/rock that simply bypasses that ‘neo’ part. Glowing with its own authenticity and damn near seething with the love of what’s possible, it’s very easy to imagine – nay, guarantee – all of Portland (and the rest of the known universe once this track leaks out) laying their worries down and shaking loose the joy. Intoxicating, inspiring, contagious, it’s very difficult to imagine a finer summer moment. All Are One is due August 19th, and we – and by ‘we’ I mean all of us, you included – are looking damned forward to this one." -David Cantrell Stereo Embers Exclusive Premier-First Track from the album "All Are One"
“Pardon me if this review is scatter-brained, because my mind has officially been blown. Portland’s Sophe Lux is without question the most distinct band I’ve covered since handling album reviews for College News. Let’s start with a female lead singer. Give her the attitude and wardrobe of Freddie Mercury, the voice of Kate Bush, and the depth of Tori Amos. As generous a description as that is, it perfectly depicts Sophe Lux’s Gwynny Haynes…Haynes and Sophe Lux are either living vicariously through the past or time-traveling visitors from the future intent on instigating the newest era of rock and roll. Regardless of whichever it is, I’m just glad I’ve got their discs in my grubby little mitts. If you dare suffer a brain aneurysm, visit sophelux.com where they have music videos as well as footage from some of their performances. Haynes’s sparkly outfit is worth the trip alone.-COLLEGE NEWS
"I've been listening to Sophe Lux's CD Waking the Mystics nonstop for a week or so, and just loving it. The Portland, OR eclectic glam band is fronted by Gwynneth Haynes who sounds a little like PJ Harvey by way of Freddy Mercury. The songwriting is often hilarious, sometimes profound, and the songs veer from faux-psychedelic 1960s clavier rock ("God Doesn't Take American Express") to luscious sci-fi rock opera ("Marie Antoinette Robot 2073") to bouncy numbers like "Little Soldiers of Time." It's singable, it's danceable and the concert DVD I've been perusing suggests that this is the kind of thing you want to see live." -Cory Doctorow, BOING BOING
“Sophe Lux sounds like Kate Bush fronting The Decemberists and Queen in all of it's glittery art rock gospel glory”
-New York City’s NPR/WNYC's “Sound Check”
"I imagine a young Todd Haynes creating saccharine melodramas with Barbie dolls on his bedroom floor as his sister, Gwynneth, peacefully sitting beside him, daydreams of theatrically elaborate songs with equally enamoring narrative skills. Gwynneth Haynes’ childlike naivety shines with unbridled creativity and imagination on Sophe Lux’s Waking the Mystics. Gwynneth shares in her brother’s love of rich political and philosophical undertones, affinity for the 1970s, and rampant subversiveness, creating music completely contrary to today's musical palate. Waking the Mystics plays like a glam rock mini-opera in humble reverence to Bowie, Ferry, and Reed, tinged with hints of Broadway, vaudeville, folk and psychedelia, brilliantly exemplified in tracks such as “Marie-Antoinette Robot 2073” and "God Doesn't Take American Express." I would be forever disappointed if Sophe Lux did not perform these songs in lavishly histrionic costumes backed with ornate and opulent sets."– POP CULTURE PRESS
“Describing Sophe Lux as avant-garde just doesn’t cut it. The Portland band’s live performance is brilliantly theatrical, and the wailing falsetto of Gwynneth Haynes transforms each show into a bona fide rock opera.”–WILLAMETTE WEEK
“The city that produced the Decemberists has now birthed Sophe Lux. The Weimar-infused, accordion-loving experimental cabaret is led by the blond and beautiful Gwynneth Haynes, whose octave-jumping soprano could easily turn from indie rock to Brecht Weill torch songs.”-PHILADELPHIA WEEKLY
"Sophe Lux is what you would get if you brought a group of European street players from a hundred years ago, gave them a crash course in modern music history, and shoved modern instruments into their hands. The waltz tempos and instrumentation - including piano and accordion - give a bohemian feel to the music, but the lyrics are thoroughly modern. I'm impressed with the band, and look forward to hearing more from it."-IOWA STATE DAILY
"Sophe Lux's Hungry Ghost is a two song EP that begins with a rhythmic reference to Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, segues into a saucy 70's glam stop, and then ascends into the (rock) operatic heavens through creeping harmonies the likes of Switchblade Symphony and Cocteau twins."-SHADOWTIME NYC
“Operatic, ambitious and more than a little glam, the members of Sophe Lux craft sophisticated, theatrical pop. While the band clearly channels influences like Kate Bush and David Bowie, it continues to push artistic boundaries, both sonically and visually. Unafraid of outrageous costumes and mini-operettas, Sophe Lux is the rarest of musical birds – which is to say it’s unique and unforgettable”-PORTLAND TRIBUNE
“Cups overflow in operatic pop group Sophe Lux's debut album ‘Waking the Mystics.’ What, you don't know what operatic pop is? Well, think the heart of Queen with the mindset of a Renaissance Fayre. But then add in some unusually catchy melodies, a delightfully smooth production and a punchy, quirky sense of story -- are you with me yet? No? Well, this Portland, Oregon band has an original vibe and if you like a bit of kink with your melodic indie pop, you'll like ‘Waking the Mystics.’ Think a female-fronted The Darkness circa 1968. Or the Tiger Lillies with a contemporary indie rhythmic thrust. Or... well, Sophe Lux."-ABOUT ALTERNATIVE MUSIC
"Portland (OR) band Sophe Lux have pull off a minor miracle: To wit: they've put out a two song CD of epic, complex rock that never descends into cheesy bombastic nonsense or pointlessly ornate instrumentation.
These two songs ("Hungry Ghost" and "Sophia Song") manage to (capital R) Rock with heavy doses of blatant theatricality in ways that are reminiscent of both goth and metal, but still manage to sound fresh and new. There's spark here, passion, energy and clear intent. There's intricacy that never bogs down in prog noodling nonsense.
Sophe Lux isn't afraid to wind you up and then slide the listener into a dark, quiet stretch. They seem to thrive on bounding from peaks to valleys, from full throttle rock to piano driven sepiachord.
On an even bigger plus these two songs go so well together that they sound like one 10 minute 30 second track that NEVER GETS BORING. I've listened to this EP over and over and it still sends chills up my spine. Great job."-BLANK POINT
"Intelligent rock stars are a rarity these days, this is why Sophe Lux should be cherished and soaked up like the sun."-THE OREGONIAN
"Portland’s purveyors of pastoral pop Sophe Lux take the theatrical approach of the Fiery Furnaces and max it out. The band—singer/songwriter Gwynneth Haynes—channels a lot of ideas through “Waking The Mystics:” A strange and hypnotic visitation to a land inhabited by astute literary figures, psychotic philosophers and mindless freaks; in another words, figure the band as a Paris-via-Oregon experience.”-THE SILENT UPROAR
“Waking The Mystics: A cool, glam, genre-busting album.”-VERY SHORT LIST