Listening to halfsour’s latest release, charm school, is like hearing a six song set from indie rock heaven.
The album starts off with “Ten Year Tenure,” which also happens to be the perfect opener. It’s energetic, but holds back just enough to build a tension that never quite eases up. There is slight relief during brief breaks from the melodically piercing guitar riffs and rumbling, intense drum and bass lines, but it always returns to that state of blissful strain.
The next few tracks, “Vinyl Siding,” “Scenes from the Couch,” and “Day Dogs,” offer an equally as loud and energetic continuation of the album. They are the tracks that “Ten Year Tenure” had been building up to. All of those tracks run less than two minutes, and yet they manage to pack in a cruising, upbeat rock sound that is nothing short of kick-ass.
“Ice Cream Dinner” takes a turn in the more relaxed and pleasantly prolonged direction. It’s ponderous, ever-so-slightly melancholy, but absolutely beautiful in the most pointed alt-rock fashion.
The closer, “Black Dodge,” appears almost to be the climax of the album. It’s dirty, loud, and unbelievably catchy during its riotous chorus. If a halfsour show were to be closed with this song, the crowd would be riled up beyond cure, and as a consequence, would be begging for at least another set’s worth of the band’s impeccably killer sounds.
Summed up, charm school contains tunes that have a sound that could be compared to ‘90’s alt pop rock from the future. The sound is nostalgic, but not one that has already been overdone. It’s fresh, but doesn’t disrespect all the things right about rock ‘n’ roll. Overall, charm school is brilliant, straightforward, and quite frankly, charming.