Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tuesday Listening - Neil Halstead, Palindrome Hunches

The first few weeks of this fall have been full of robust album releases that have eviscerated any ho-hum feelings I had leftover from the summer's lackluster new tunes.  There have been so many great new releases the last few weeks that Neil Halstead's new album, Palindrome Hunches, almost got lost in the shuffle of my other shiny new toys.


But, like the flow of the album itself, it was there in the background, waiting patiently for me to slow down and take a good, long listen.  Sometimes, an album comes along that is haunting, yet hopeful; simple, yet complex; far-away feeling, yet personal.  This album is all of these things.  It starts off with a track so hauntingly beautiful ("Digging Shelters") and meanders about with each song evoking different emotions, but always maintaining a sense of calmness within the simple instrumentation.  There is a lack of fussiness and pretenses that makes it easily digestible, but allows you to savor each morsel.  This is the kind of album made for this time of year, with the perfect tone for nights that have some bite and leave you feeling a bit colder than just a few short weeks ago.  If you are longing for some comfort in the new found fall weather, this is it.  This is an album you want on a rainy day, or a lazy evening, or simply in those quiet moments when you need to be reminded that beautiful things exist.

A few short months ago I didn't know Neil Halstead, until I heard a song off this album over at Fuel/Friends Blog.  The song posted was "Full Moon Rising", a little teaser for this album- but when I first heard it I thought a song that simplistically beautiful could not be replicated and most certainly there was no way in hell there could possibly be a full album of them.  Especially because, at the time I was experiencing a musical barren wasteland - nothing was inspiring me; nothing seemed to do anything for me; I couldn't seem to get into anything.  Then I heard this song, and it was just what I needed.

Fans of Glen Hansard's solo album, Rhythm and Repose, Nick Drake, or Damien Rice will find a friend in this album.  In the age of the single download, this is an exception.  And it may just be what you need, too.