Sun, Sand, Sea and Song.
The moment I switch this album on, the sun comes out, the birds sing and the surf sounds inviting in the background...at least it seems that way...this album seems like Californ-I-A and 60s Americana.
Velvet vocals sing through puppy-love eyes and the room is awash with Hal's upbeat melancholia. This debut album is like a little time capsule, delivering a slice of west coast pop from a decade long since gone. A blatant tribute to the Beach Boys or Steely Dan. Dave Allen's vocals are as accomplished as his idols, Brian Wilson or Van Morrison, albeit mixed in a slightly more refined manner thanks to the wonders of modern technology.
Every song a smiley, summery radio tune. An expression of love, yet described through the eyes of someone whose heart has yet to be ravished by the trials and tests of time. A distinct lack of awareness of how tough and cruel the world can really be. How delicious for the listener! This dreamlike naivety is potent in us all, however only for a fleeting moment. Hal's self titled debut album will appeal to us all as it takes you back...back to an era which housed the summer of love and spawned an entire generation who were celebrating their new found freedom.... freedom from opression, of their finances, their feelings and blissfully unaware how tainted they'd all become in the wake of wars and 80's capitalism.
For those of us too young to remember that far back, Hal allow us to reminisce our youth. That moment in your life when you first discover the person you will become. When you're full of hopes and fears for the life ahead of you and love first enters the equation.
As you'd expect from 4 Irish boys, there is an obvious folk sound running throughout their guitar pop and their own take on the American dream. A dream you're invited to join through layers and layers of beautiful harmonies and Allen's angelic falsetto. The two previous singles "What a lovely dance" and "Worry about the wind" introduced us to Hal's world where the sun always shines. Their music is infused with a summery warmth that permeates every last note on this album. This is perfect radio music that conjures up visions of running through fields in bare feet, wearing daisy chains and surrounded by butterflies. This is a world I'd gladly live in, even if it is only for the duration of their CD!