Italian based quintet Halflives are soon to be heading out on the road with Courage My Love on their EU/UK Tour. However, more recently the band dropped their debut full length Empty Rooms, and album which not only is the result of 18 months work but also shows their already increasing fan base, due to the fact that Empty Rooms found its birth from Crowd Funding. The album which was released on the 14th of April promises to be a big step forward for the band, however let’s breakdown Halflives debut full length Empty Rooms.
Opening up this 8 track debut is Lone Wolf, which moves in gently with a mix of well toned guitars and accompanying drums. Soon though Halflives’ Linda Battilani comes in with full force bringing the attention to her and her vocals, for the most part in this track she feels to dominate the track but also allows the rest of the band to showcase their ability and the well orchestrated instrumentation the band has pieced together. Overall Lone Wolf opens this debut well, with a well constructed tone and at times interesting instrumentation it shows the potential this album has and sets a good precedent for what else lies on this album.
Coming next are the tracks Mayday and Burn the two main singles from this release. Mayday features first and with it’s almost Against The Current sound it is a track which truly shows why there was a lot of excitement surrounding this record, from the extremely well constructed vocal melodies to the well presented instrumentation that carries the track along at a brisk pace. Following on is Burn, which plays a little more on Linda Battilani’s vocals and gives you the sense that it could be a cut from a summer blockbuster. Burn also happens to be the strongest cut off of this album with the very minimal instrumentation, which at first can seem like an issue does in fact add to the overall feel of the song. Alongside this Burn feels almost anthemic in its structure.
Following on is a trio of tracks the first which is Echo, a track which yet again shows the potential this band has, with this very palatable sound. Highlives also drags this anthem sounding construction from Burn in to Echo allowing for a clear indication in their capability of writing tracks which are consistent and cohesive. Next in this trio of tracks is The Sickness, which is the first time that Halflives drop the ball as it is in this moment that the tracks instrumental composition starts to get repetitive and the overall execution of the track feels lack luster. However, that isn’t to say that the dynamic shifts aren’t interesting as the occasional shift does add something to the track.
Half Alive is the final track in this trio and after what is a somewhat dull moment on the album, Halflives manage to get the ball rolling with a track which comes with it’s own instinctive bop and a great cohesive merging of electronic instrumentation and a full band sound. Half Alive also comes with a catchy chorus similarly to many tracks on this debut record, alongside a great use of dynamic changes which bring a new element and layer to the instrumentation which is present on this track.
Acting as the title track to this debut full length Empty Room follows as the album starts to come to its close. It is in this track where the thematic structure of the album truly comes in to play and allows for the vocals to carry a lot of weight and make an impact through the lyricism and vocal presentation that effortlessly mixes with the instrumentation. However, similarly to how it had on The Sickness it is in this that the tracks length still feels a little labouring for what is actually in this track, even despite the massive impact the lyricism makes.
Ending this debut record is Collide. Collide is the most interesting track on this release simply because of the high usage of electronic instrumentation, however when the band do finally mix in the electronic instrumentation with their well orchestrated guitars and drums the track comes together for a well rounded ending that brings this debut album to a close well. Alongside this it seems that in this track Halflives are yet again making an impact with the lyricism that is present in the track and allows for a haunting feeling long after the album has finished.
Overall, through Empty Rooms Halflives have created an album which wonderfully showcases their abilities and their potential to go on further with this sound that they and many other bands are using today. With the occasional anthemy sounding cut off of this album and their well orchestrated instrumentation there are many positives on this record. However, when the tracks do feel labouring to get through, which does happen once or twice on this record it does drag away from what could have been an excellent album. [6.5/10]