What A Lovely Dance… what an inspiring start to 2005. Hal return with their second single for Rough Trade.
What A Lovely Dance is the sound of four young Irish men by-passing the computerised production line of 21st century music to create a soaring torch song of love and loss with all the lyrical country soul of ‘Astral Weeks’ era Van Morrison and the grand melodic sweep of a young Reg Dwight in full on ‘Tiny Dancer’ mode.
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Hal are a hymn to blissful isolation, their debut album (due in April) is both populist and arcane, modern yet infused with an old school quality. This much you will know if you heard their first single, ‘Worry About The Wind’, a tribute to The Band’s Rick Danko, which – not unlike the aforementioned ‘70s folk-rock gods – married the kind of harmonies that never go out of fashion to a sylvan verve and otherworldly sensibility. Except the Band, or indeed any other outfit, weren’t endowed with someone with vocals as breathtaking as Dave Allen, whose falsetto-voiced delivery adds Hal’s songs a saintly lustre and evokes the days when rock was blessed with a sun-kissed innocence.
Hal are brothers Dave (26, lead vocals/guitar) & Paul (23, vocals, bass), Steve Hogan (28, drums) and Stephen O’Brien (27, keyboards) and all hail from Kiliney, south of Dublin. Dave and Stephen struck up a rare songwriting bond, composing for two years every night, though both of them had day jobs, obsessing over each and every aspect of Hal’s sound. The pair enlisted Paul after a year of writing together. The core of the group in place, they secured a residency at the Sugar Club in Dublin, securing a gig a month until – six months into their schedule – Rough Trade beat a host of labels to their signatures. Since then they’ve enjoyed a spate of on the road adventures, touring with The Delays, Starsailor and Grandaddy, none of whom sound like Hal.
Then again, who does?
‘What A Lovely Dance’ video links:
HAL Tour dates
There is a Heavenly Rough Trade Happening with both HAL & The Magic Numbers Rotating Bill. The dates in February 2005 across the UK are…
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- Thurs 10th – Glasgow Barfly
- Fri 11th – Liverpool Barfly
- Sat 12th – Leeds Cockpit
- Mon 14th – Bristol Louisiana
- Tues 15th – Birmingham Glee Club
- Thurs 17th – Manchester Roadhouse
- Sat 19th – Nottingham Social
- Sun 20th – Oxford Zodiac
- Mon 21st – Brighton Concorde 2
HAL will also be playing two separate dates at the end of February:
- Thursday 24th – Belfast The Limelight
- Friday 25th – Dublin The Village