Dublin natives Halves are back, and this time it’s with their newest creation ‘Boa Howl’. After the success of debut album ‘It Goes, It Goes’, we were eagerly awaiting a listen to their newest musical child, which was certain to offer plenty of food for thought from start to finish.
Opening track Drumhunter is a dead giveaway just by its naming. Rhythmic and almost animalistic in its sound, but topped with natural and swaying vocal lines, this track becomes its own living entity, with its own heartbeat. These strong rhythms and natural tones are not dropped at Drumhunter‘s sudden end, however, with Drip Pools maintaining this sense of life, the growing rhythmic heartbeat of this track underlining all of its melodic and harmonic additions. Quiet, peaceful and extremely well constructed, instrumental interludes contrast wonderfully in their colour with the quieter and reflective vocal sections. Instrumental additions such as strings and vibraphone-effects add an understated element to this track, creating swells in sound that, when linked seamlessly with the rhythmic heartbeat of this track, only heighten the sense of life that this album is quickly taking on.
Bring Your Bad Luck opens with a wonderfully dark and reverberating cello, which delicately lifts as the vocals enter, losing its denseness and becoming lighter and airier. This seems to be a special skill of Halves – contrasting the dark and wooden tones of the strings with the lighter parts of vocals, electronica and a blend of many other instruments to create a track that really draws you in. Hug The Blood is similar in its composition, with the added bonus of hints of brass which add a nice new flavour to the mix.
Opening with a gentle blend of plucked strings, before merging with electronics to create a gently swaying base for the vocals, Polynia is a triumph from the outset. A surprisingly catch instrumental section snags the ear, before leading you deeper. This track is certainly one of the more entrancing, slowing to a gentle finish. Final track Let Them Come allows the album to do just the same thing. Easy, gentle and flowing, with its more slightly explosive areas, ‘Boa Howl’ ends as it was meant to…slowing dying away, as if it were an actual life passing away, the final heartbeat of the album fading out gently.
‘Boa Howl’ is nothing short of a triumph. Halves are a band that have managed to do here what many bands attempt and fail at, creating an album that lives and breathes. ‘Boa Howl’ is entrancing. It’s not filled with pop hooks, and it’s never going to ‘hit the big time’, but somehow, Halves don’t appear to be a band that want all that. They’ve created here an album that will attract the right kind of attention. It showcases the creative, artistic and experimental talents of this band, and is truly a work they should all be immensely proud to stand over.