Background Magazine 2010

Sometimes it takes a while before an album is picked up by the press and the audience. This happened with the album Rabbit In The Vestibule by Half Past Four from Toronto (Canada). What the reasons are that this in 2008 released album got some attention late 2009/early 2010 is difficult to tell. I guess the band only can tell us the reason why it was picked up so late. One thing is certain, the internet must have played an important part in the whole thing. But it’s better to have a late response than no reaction at all. When I first heard the music from this band it gave me most of all a very happy feeling. Was this what we could call happy prog? Maybe! Most of the tracks are rather short and have an up tempo beat. This beat has several rhythm styles. Or we can also say several musical styles. The band has no problem to play some reggae, rock, punk, ska, latin or some salsa rhythms if the song needs it. Also Arabian rhythms and influences are notable. This way the band keeps the music very fresh and most of all very alive. You might ask yourself does it contain any real prog music. Well, it certainly does and the best example might be the instrumental track Lullaby. It has no mellotron choirs, Hammond organs solo’s or fast Mini Moog eruptions, but that does not mean that the prog influences are not present. Also the musicians know how to play a tasteful solo. This is certainly required in progressive rock music.Most of all keyboard player Igor Kurtzman has the talent to treat us some very innovative and original solo’s. Guitarist Constantin Necrasov also plays some very melodic parts from time to time, which I enjoyed a lot. But the person who I enjoyed the most on the entire album is female singer Kyree Vibrant. Her voice is crystal clear and has a very wide vocal range. She has no problem to sing very soft in a ballad or to scream on a more rock orientated track. Bravo! It’s difficult to mention any names to compare to the music of Half Past Four. Some other reviewers mentioned Gentle Giant,  Frank ZappaRenaissanceSantanaSpock’s Beard and Kate Bush as possible references. Sure, I did hear traces of those artists on Rabbit In The Vestibule. But one thing is certain, the band has very much a style of their own. My verdict on this album is certainly positive, because I could not really spot any weak tracks. Most of the time the tracks have a very nice sound fragment before they start to play. For example, you can hear the sound of footsteps or the closing of a door. It’s a nice extra which I just had to mention at the end of this review. Let’s see what the future brings for this very talented band. A band that most of all shows that progressive rock music has many faces! Most of all a face with a smile on it. Thumbs up!

Henri Strik
May 14, 2010