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Half Past Four: Good Things

Time may feel very important to a band with the name Half Past Four. However it is something that this Canadian based art-rock quintet always seem to have on their side. Nine years passed between their inception and first album proper (they recorded the soundtrack to the film The Mad in 2006), the wonderfully titled Rabbit In The Vestibule in 2008, with another five years oozing by before the aptly named Good Things appears. During that time this hard working act have spent a serious amount of time honing their skills in the live arena, something which has paid off in fine style, Good Things being an album which positively brims with a gentle, well placed confidence, while never being less than thoroughly engaging. The rabbit and vestibule in the title of the band's previous release suggests Half Past Four also possess a keen sense of humour and cleverly in an area of music that can become stuffy and self absorbed, this aspect of Good Things goes a long way to setting the results apart from a whole host of acts operating in this musical sphere. However don't think that means 1/2Past4 are wacky, or kooky - far from it, it is just that on the odd occasion they throw in surprises that make you gently chuckle, whilst always ensuring you remain completely transfixed by the tapestry of sounds they weave.

Often in a band it is easy to single out aspects, or band members that really make the whole operation click into place. Here however we find an outfit intent to mix dazzling chops with considered execution, or clinically precise time changes and patterns to loose, emotional music that engages through the heartfelt manner in which it is delivered. Then add a depth and intricacy that ensures a strong initial impression only grows with every subsequent experience and there really is little to fault here. Some may find a few of the aspects mentioned, self indulgent, or simply one too many to cram into a single album (or song in some cases), however for the slightly more adventurous this always melodious music is not to be missed. Impressively considering their self admitted Spinal Tap like propensity to jettison drummers, Marcello sets the tone for much of Good Things, with his kit conundrums being rigorous and thorough, while expertly positioned and never obtrusive. Equally the bass and Chapman Stick work from Dmitry "Les" Lesov is sublime, driving songs on one minute, setting the tone in the background the next, allowing the dextrous skills of guitarist Constantin Necrasov and keyboard player Iggy Kurtzman to dart into and out of the spotlight. Vocally the imposing Kyree Vibrant ties all of the loose strands together with an easy style that never quite delivers the expected, keeping you guessing as to her next move as you marvel at her clear rich tones.

Lastly it is the sheer breadth of the material that captivates, with "Cool Water" roaming the boundaries between brooding, threatening, jaunty and playful. It is an uneasy marriage, but intentionally so. "Landmines" then adds a jazzy cool as an almost kiddie like keyboard motif plays against a singing guitar solo and guttural riff, the drums and bass clashing head to head all the while. Add to that "Rise" which veers madly between easy going beats and harmony vocals then clashing piano scales and riotous riffs, oh and surfer rock grooves! Or "Spin The Girl" where Russian Cossack shouts and off beats are employed in the centre of a manic vocal joust and piano/keyboard gallop, and to suggest that Good Things refuses to sit still would be an understatement. Not convinced? Try the positively loungy, odd lyrically themed "Wolf" where an almost crazed male growl plays against Vibrant's soaring voice, or the supremely sublime melodies of the almost Kate Bush meets King Crimson of "All Day And All Night" to sample some more of the eclectic, but never superfluous delights on this album.

They say Good Things come to those who wait. Well, it would be fair to suggest Half Past Four's patience has been richly rewarded.

Track Listing
1. It Strikes You
2. Good Things
3. All Day And All Night
4. Rise
5. Landmines
6. Cool Waters
7. Spin The Girl
8. Fate
9. I Am Lion
10. Wolf
11. Darkness Knew
12. The Earth

Added: April 17th 2013
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Half Past Four Online
Hits: 2335
Language: english

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