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Halls - Ark

There’s an otherworldly sense of maturity and wisdom behind this record, and it is woven into every sound.

‘Ark’ begins with a sound that can only be compared to a funeral dirge. And as this, Halls’ debut, progresses, it almost feels as though time itself has slowed down, every second ticking away in time to the music. It’s a calming vacuum that you enter as multi-instrumentalist Sam Howard hypnotises you into a dreamlike state. At 11 tracks long, ‘Ark’ is less a water-based vehicle, more the journey it goes on.

Although, that said, you’ll be on ‘Roses For The Dead’, the fourth track, before you know it. An eerie, electronic soundscape with echoing vocals is followed by the delicate keys of the title track. And at this point, you’d better hope you weren’t in a fragile place when you put ‘Ark’ on, because if you were, this instrumental song will destroy you in less than two minutes. There’s an otherworldly sense of maturity and wisdom behind this record, and it is woven into every sound.

The electro comes back in ‘Funeral’, with Howard’s vocals morose and downtrodden. Low synths and simplistic beats are the order of the day, and for once the vocals are actually nearer the forefront. The darkness continues in ‘Shadow Of The Colossus’, and generally speaking, by this point you should know whether ‘Ark’ is for you or not. You should have also decided that yes, it is for you, because although it takes a while, ‘Ark’ is an acquired taste that is well worth cultivating.

‘Reverie’ changes tack again, dropping the electro for a more basic guitar sound. ‘Holy Communion’ drives itself into the crevices of your brain, turning into a post-rock cacophony in the last two minutes. With such variety, there is not standout track in ‘Ark’. All that’s left to do after you finish your journey of listening to it is to look around, and see where you’ve ended up.

Tags: Halls, Reviews, Album Reviews

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