Sometimes a record comes along and knocks you off guard a little. It’s completely unexpected. It reminds you of so much and yet, at the same time, you cannot quite put your finger on who it is, or why it is that it feels so familiar.
With Halves, the obvious reference point for me is Radiohead. That’s not to say they sound like Radiohead, just that vocally and, at times, musically there is a hint of Radiohead at their brilliant best – albums such as Kid A, Amnesiac and Hail To The Thief. Yep, I’m afraid all of you who dislike those records may struggle with this one! Or perhaps not. Because there is a real sense of identity to this record. An originality that defys everything that I’ve just said. Certainly, the opening tracks do not suggest anything of a Radiohead influence to the music as the darkness, which pervades this record starts to unfold slowly. Even, first song proper ‘Darling, You’ll Meet Your Maker’ is too dark and haunting to be recognisably influenced by Radiohead. However, ‘Growing & Glow’, a truly stunning track, with vocals reminiscent of Thom Yorke, could be pulled straight from one of the albums cited earlier on.
I don’t want to dwell on the Radiohead link though, because that is possibly all in my head and put simply this is a very original and exciting work, it just wears its influences on its sleeve at times. The dynamic of the record is fantastic. Quiet moments of dark, lush beauty compliment the more frantic moments of panic. Full acoustic instruments at times. At others, electronic rhythms and pulses. It’s a fascinating piece of music from start to finish.
It’s very atmospheric and haunting in tone for the most part. In fact, it’s really hard to categorise the music on show. It could be ambient. It could be pop. It could be alternative. It could be shoegaze. It’s like somebody took all these elements mixed them up, took a paintbrush and started splattering a canvas. The results could be anything from awful to amazing, and in the case of Halves, it’s pretty close to amazing. ‘I Raise Bears’ is a stunning, stunning track which actually reminds me a little of Conquering Animal Sound.
Like I said, this record has thrown me. It’s hard to write about because it’s hard to explain. It is so, so good though and I cannot stop listening. And I’d highly recommend that you go here and have a listen yourself. Ireland does produce some fine music, with the exception of U2 of course……