The Scene Magazine
Nov 1, 2016
Toronto’s progressive-rock band Half Past Four has just dropped their latest EP Land of the Blind. Drawing their inspiration from bands like Pink Floyd, Genesis, Deep Purple, and Jethro Tull, Half Past Four has set out to challenge the limitations of music and blast through any conceptions of genre. By cleverly combining multiple elements from several genres, Half Past Four has been able to create their own sound, a sound unlike anything that you have ever heard before.
With almost 20 years of music creation and entertainment under their belt, Land of the Blind is the band’s third release. Released on September 17, Land of the Blind features some of the most unique musical combinations that I have ever heard. Just when I think that I have a song pegged down and am able to compare it to something or someone, the melody changes and I have to adapt my musical perception.
While the effort involved to make sense of the music on Land of the Blind may deter some, those brave enough to embark on the epic adventure that is Land of the Blind will be rewarded with unorthodox tones, lyrics, and themes. These are not your typical rock songs, folks, and that is what makes the music on this EP so enjoyable.
Land of the Blind begins with “Mathematics.” The intro reminds me of some typical 1960s song with its flowery guitar and synthesizer. As the track progresses the influence of Pink Floyd is pretty obvious, and the modernized psychedelic sound is oddly soothing. The lyrics are pretty straight forward and the metaphors between life and mathematical calculations are relatively uncomplicated. But their simple lyrical approach and nostalgic music make this song really enjoyable.
“Mood Elevator” is the next track, and the heavy pounding piano creates an air of dread and intrigue. The feeling is enhanced by the subtle injection of jazz elements, including an amazing guitar solo. Yet it is the spoken male vocals that compound the emotion behind the song and the cheeky lyrics are sure to make listeners smile. And the switch to the female jazz backup vocals is a stroke of genius.
I’m still not sure what to make of “Toronto Tontos.” There is just so much going on in the song. From the heavy metal inspired guitar to the squeaky toy sounds, Half Past Four does prove that they are able to push the boundaries of sounds and song composition in order to create something unique and new. However, some listeners may find the resulting chaos off putting.
“One Eyed Man” features an amazing blues rock sound that rests delicately on the cusp between rock and country. The melody also slips into harder rock on more than one occasion, and the clever and jovial lyrics, which are either sung or spoken, elevate “One Eyed Man” beyond a mere ballad with an important theme.
The EP finishes with the light and melodic “Mirror Eyes.” Again the influence of psychedelic rock is obvious, but there is also another tone that reminds me of J-pop. This tone can be heard when the vocals and upbeat music harmonize, just when the singer holds her notes after the tension in the verse reaches an apex and there is a light crescendo. This little detail perhaps best demonstrates the care the Half Past Four takes with their music.