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HAL - Down in the Valley EP

  by Andy Cassidy

published: 27 / 2 / 2012

HAL - Down in the Valley EP
Label: Tri-Tone
Format: CDS


Infectious 70's and early 80's-influenced pop on first EP in seven years from Dublin-based band, HAL

Dublin band HAL return after a seven year hiatus with a four-track EP which is simply bristling with catchy melodies, infectious hooks and great instrumentation. The treated vocal introduction of opening track 'Down in the Valley' bursts out of the speakers like a cross between the Scissor Sisters and MGMT distilled through a mix of Zappa’s doo-wop pastiches and a hint of Buck’s Fizz-style pop. It’s a heady mix, but never overpowering and always staying just on the right side of cheesy. Second track 'Why Do You Come Here?' opens with a lovely string line, which continues in the style of My Life Story throughout the piece. Despite the orchestration, however, the vibe I got from the song is that of a slow disco number – this could easily be the product of the late-seventies New York club scene. 'Motorcars' is a slower number, with lush harmonies and a brushed snare creating a wonderful moonlit atmosphere. This is a jazzier track than its predecessors, again making great use of a prominent yet restrained string section. As a mood piece, it is tremendously effective. The slow piano opening of final track 'Little Lady' again works tremendously well as a mood setter. As a paean to the eponymous “little lady” it is tremendously affecting. As with the remainder of the EP, the background vocals are fantastic- the instrumentation is sparse and gives the lead and background vocals ample space to soar, and soar they do. This is a highly accomplished little collection, and if it is an accurate sample of what’s to come from HAL, then I for one am pretty excited by it. The only complaint I have is that it was simply over too quickly. More please.

Track Listing:-
1 Down In the Valley
2 Why Do You ComeHere
3 Motorcars
4 Little Lady

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The Time The Hour (2012)
Superbly written and executed first album in seven years from Dublin-based pop rock outfit, HAL

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