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Halflight - Subside EP

Reviewed by Andreas on 10th August 2004

Cardiff-based Halflight are the child of singer/songwriter Sarah Howells. Tapping into the "quiet is the new loud" genre, Halflight serves up an EP of four songs.

The press release accompanying this release says that Halflight are following the success of acts like Damien Rice, and maybe a bit unfortunate, Katie Melua. I say unfortunate because where Melua is merely a drab artist with a pretty face, Halflight actually make for decent listening.

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It is the genuine feel of Halflight's songs that makes them stand out. Where other similar artists sound as if they've had some clever producer-bloke knock up some acoustic tracks, Sarah Howells sings with conviction. There's a real stream of emotion present in these songs, most notably the opening track, "Where the pin falls" and "Sixfour". Melancholy ever present, with cellos slashing across the quiet background of clean guitars, combined with Howells' emotional vocals makes for a powerful impression at times.

Still, not all the tracks are as touching. Last track "Photos" seems to drag on forever, even though it ticks in at under 3 minutes. I think the melody might be a slight copy of some Travis song...

The EP is high-quality. The recording and playing is flawless, and even the cd-cover is immaculate. Howells has a pleasant voice, not too sweet like *cough* Miss Melua. However, the professionalism of the record is also what lets it down. The songs are very "safe", no new ground is being broken, every single note is there for a reason. After you've heard the 4 songs on "Subside", you've really had your fill of melancholic indie for the day.

While they are pleasant to listen to, I can imagine Halflight getting tedious over an album, unless they do something a bit more inventive. If they do push things a bit forward, I can see them do quite well in the future. Trust me, you'd rather have your dad listen to Halflight than Katie Melua!

Note: "Subside" is out August 16th on My First Records

Rating: 7/10
Website: halflight.info

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