Eight and a Half – s/t

Band: Eight and a Half
Album: Eight and a Half

Eight and a Half is comprised of Dave Hamelin and Liam O’Neil from The Stills and Broken Social Scene’s Justin Peroff. The sound created by this 3-piece, however, is nothing like what you may expect, given the musicians’ previous work. Hamelin’s vocals have an ethereal feel, as he sings in a higher register than he did with The Stills. The music itself is heavily driven by synths, courtesy of O’Neil, and there’s quite a bit of electronic drums from Peroff. Much of the debut album has an ominous feel, with album book ended by short, moody instrumentals.

The very beginnings of Eight and a Half precedes the dissolution of The Stills and the hiatus of Broken Social Scene, but lyrically this album sounds a lot like it came out of the ashes. With “The Turn Around,” you get the idea that the band has a fresh, new outlook towards music and the fresh, new sound certainly reinforces that idea.

Songs like “Took A Train to India” and “Two Points” are a little more upbeat, but, while the self-titled record is synth-heavy, it’s not in an electro/dance way. These songs feature a lot of percussion, but the latter is particularly surprising, especially since the band has stated that this is the first song they wrote together. It is one of the most textured songs on the album, but it’s only a small sample size of what the band does to layer the tracks. Every listen to each of the songs seems to give way to newly discovered sounds and eccentricities.

“Wait Up” and “Oh, My Head” are perhaps my favourite tracks, where the percussion really dominates the feel of the songs, but that may have something to do with having heard these songs open and close their CMW set. The singles actually remain the strongest on the album, as they’re gloomy, introspective and even a little catchy. From “Scissors,” “Hold me like an old friend” is one hell of a line, especially when asked by Hamelin in that haunting tone, while “Go Ego” has a bit more of a punch.

Eight and a Half have put forward a strong debut, giving promise to what may come of their future. Most of all, it gives loyal fans new music to enjoy and you really can’t argue with that. The self-titled debut album will be released on April 10th via Arts & Crafts and I recommend you delve deep to discover what the band has to offer.


Categories: Recorded


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