Halvard making Utrecht feel like Nashville in their second full-length

This week our heavy rotation includes early Roxy Music, Talking Heads, Genesis and the Eno-injected Bowie albums so, we were definitely into the mood for some art rock goodies. Thank goodness what Dutch band Halvard dropped us a record that couldn’t have fit better in what we’ve been into lately.

“Day of Electricity” is an outstanding record and a lesson in song-writing, lyrics, production, and visual aesthetics. Spanning over just eight tracks, which honestly will take just a bit over than half an hour of your time, Halvard have offered a very artistic take on what we’ll boldly label art rock-influenced altcountry music. Being only their second full-length we have to admit they’ve grown a lot and have moved far from the primitive lo-fi and garage sound of their debut “Lay of the Land”.

And while a quick spin of “Day of Electricity” can trick you into thinking it’s just a more interesting alt folk album there’s actually a ton more beneath the surface. Above the pumping, groovy and often very minimalist bass lines you find the guitars in a constant dialog. They are overlapping and complimenting each other while building together a very lively melodic core for the rest of the instruments. Vocals are squeaky clean unlike those on the album’s predecessor, maybe with the exception of “Wrong Train” where they get really trippy to fit the overall vibe of this psychedelic country banger. Sprinkled over all of that we find keyboards and synths, which sometimes sound like a hammond organ, other times just contribute delicate layers of soundscapes or subtle melodic lines to the pieces. A lot of field recordings and speech samples are found throughout the whole record which gives it a very organic and humane touch. We honestly can’t believe this record comes from The Netherlands and not from Nashville.

Highly recommended for that long drive to the beach you have to do in the weekend (and not only).

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