Eight And A Half- Eight And A Half
Record Label: Arts & Crafts
Release Date: April 10, 2012
I can imagine that releasing a second debut album would be a lot like breaking up with your long-time partner, and then going on your first "first date" in years.
Comprised of Justin Peroff of Broken Social Scene, and David Hamelin and Liam O'Neil of The Stills, electronic group Eight And A Half have quite a bit riding on this album. I'm happy to report they've delivered exactly everything we could hope for.
Opening track "When I Was Twenty-Nine" is an instrumental lead-in to the rest of the record. It's a move that not all bands could pull of, but it flows very well into the first single, "Scissors". "Scissors" picks up interest as the first song we hear being performed by the band as a whole, and it stands as very strong and memorable single with falsetto vocals, eerie lyrics ("Hold me like an old firend/Hold me like an omen"), and fantastic musical production. Second single "Go Ego" holds a more optomistic and poppier sound, still ringing in as an excellent pick for the first half of the album.
Next track "The Turn Around" starts to veer the album in a brit-pop direction, which isn't a bad thing. It's a great song, honestly bringing the record a bit of a Radiohead vibe at times. "Wait Up" acts as it's sibling-track, a bit slowed down and darker, carrying into quick-paced "Two Points".
The album is not without its flaws. "Took A Train To India" is a bit of a dud, complete with a cheesy oriental-theme synth part. Right around six tracks in, the record starts to become repetitive. Eight And A Half continue to create some great tunes in the vein of what we've come to love by this point, however it is less memorable than the first half of the album. Album closer "My Forevers" is the second instrumental track, basically combining the electronic and musical parts of the first two songs. It creates a well-done yet slightly lazy to an othewise great debut.
Eight And A Half have released a record from which they can successfully start again, both bringing along old fans as well as picking up new ones on the way. It is an intriguing listen, and I hope that they will continue to grow and gain momentum as a talented group who have earned and deserve a place in the scene today.