When you hear of a band who have such an attempt at a rebellious sounding album title, it’s hard not to conjure up a first impression of another bunch of scruffy looking guys from London thrown through their nearest branch of Topshop and sent on their way towards the limelight, quivering with guitars in their hands and silly trilby hats resting upon their awkwardly cut fringes.
Thankfully Seattle band Half Light has a lot more going on in between their ears than that. On their MySpace, they list their record label as “this isn’t our day job” – they aren’t currently signed to any label. It’s a shame – they’re such talented songwriters and musicians it’s a shame to see that this isn’t too far off being a very elaborate hobby.
Opening with the utterly enchanting ‘Affected’ there’s a clear Mazzy Star/Dandy Warhols/Black Box Recorder influence running through the veins of it. The breathy vocals of Dayna Smith and Dayna Loeffler blend not unlike Kim and Kelly Deal of The Breeders fame. Such an incredible opening track immediately blows away any illusions of trend chasing antics.
Over the next handful of songs, the quality doesn’t deteriorate. There’s a country tinged feel to ‘Blueprint’, and ‘Feel’ is the albums most direct moment of dreamy pop, finishing up long before it’s overstayed its welcome at a paltry two and a quarter minutes.
Sadly ‘Burn it Down’ doesn’t quite have the same effect whilst following song, the instrumental ‘Ambeing’ also falls a little short of the mark. It’s not a particularly bad song as such, it’s just that compared to the other offerings on the album it just can’t live up to the towering expectations that the band bring upon themselves with songs as enjoyable as ‘Charmed’ or ‘Mary’.
Half Light haven’t only managed to make a charming debut but also to bring many different genres together to create gorgeous landscapes together. There’s the psychadelica of Thirteen Tales era Dandy Warhols, the general songwriting craft of Mazzy Star, hey, there’s even elements of post-rock such as Sigur Ros and the sparseness of Portishead too. First impressions can indeed be deceptive – please let this impression be a lasting one.