Never ones to rush into anything, HAL finally get around to following up their critically-lauded, self-titled 2005 debut with this compact set of harmonious adult pop rock built on big picture choruses and shimmering melodies. In 2007 the Dublin outfit started an unplanned, protracted hiatus as singer David Allen quit Ireland in search of a cure for his writer's block. He spent two years travelling Europe and the States, playing in bars and generally rediscovering his mojo.
Happily, he found his erstwhile bandmates were happy enough to reform HAL and set about recording their sophomore set. Those sun kissed West Coast harmonies that marked the debut out and earned a bag full of awards and press plaudits are still in place, coupled with a cleaner production born of an apparent new found confidence to let the songs shine. It also removes the band from the lazy Thrills comparisons that plagued their first release.
Now that it's here, The Time The Hour is well worth the wait. The title track is complex but interesting enough so you want to know what's going to happen next. The Rocking Chair adds an array of traditional instruments to the mix and plays merry with folky rhythms, brass and woodwind. Going to the City and Be With You offer more immediate pleasures, begging to be heard chiming from a radio on a warm summer's evening in the park; while Close To You has enough magic harmonies to send shivers down Brian Wilson's spine and Who Do You Come Here imagines Neil Young fronting the High Llamas in Steely Dan's garage.
Nothing to add, do agree 100 % with Nick (Beatles in Bournemouth author...). Saw them in 2004, they were the opening act for the opening act for the Adam Green's gig. Forgot Green's gig, the other band's name but spent all night to fin HAL's music. I'm glad their