Sea of Tranquility 2016

Steven Reid

Oct 8, 2016

In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king… or so they say. For in this Land Of The Blind, Canadian progressive, art rockers Half Past Four would appear to be well and truly in control. Arriving as the band’s third release, this five track EP finds this eclectic outfit ably covering their bases and then some. Opening with the decidedly less intimidating than its name suggests, “Mathematics”, things begin gently and seductively, layered vocals soothing and cajoling. Jazzy in places, poppy in others and just the right side of quirky as a jaunty melody plays out against spiky guitars. All the while the vocals from the most aptly named Kyree Vibrant add layers of shimmering excitement to already enticing sounds. “Mood Elevator” screeches on the brakes, an about turn in effect as King Crimson like fret-work is punctuated by superbly forceful whispers from, well I’m not quite sure, the manly insistence sure ain’t Kyree, but they are hugely effective. The song itself darting from scene to scene, living out its name with a real eagerness and no little skill.

A surprise cover of the Max Webster track – fellow Canadian’s after all – ” Toronto Tontos ” grinds its girders and flips its flop from squeaky whistles and cocks crowing to gloriously harmonised vocals and pinpoint snare snaps and tome rolls. However the piano-funk declaration that is “One Eyed Man” (OK, maybe he is in charge after all??) finds Kyree doing her best town crier impression, spreading the news in the most authoritative of fashions as cascades of piano and guitar jostle for space in between some classical breakdowns. Allowing “Mirror Eyes” to offer the smoothest, most readily accessible side to Half Past Four by way of quick farewell. With bass roaming wild to keep the keenest melody in sight company, if it’s memorable and singalongable you’re after, this is maybe as close as Half Past Four want to get.

Bring it all together and you have a mighty romp through the varied and classy approaches this band can evoke, always sounding natural, unforced and beguiling as they do. No matter when or where you are, set your watch for Half Past Four and enjoy. It’s as simple and complicated as that.