by Joel Parmer (@cup_of_joel)
Put simply, Boston’s halfsour is a force to be reckoned with. The group has been gradually gaining traction across the North Eastern DIY scene and beyond since they formed in late 2012. halfsour has definitely dipped their toes in various waters, putting out a slew of releases since their formation: EPs, a split, and covers, among their debut full length Tuesday Night Live. Now halfsour is full-on cannonballing with their sophomore album titled Sticky.
As much as halfsour’s music emits a slacker rock aura, the group works at full blast. Singer/bassist Zoë Wyner, guitarist Matt Mara, and new drummer Travis Hagan have spent the last year hashing out Sticky. The album was self-recorded, but mixing and mastering duties were taken on by Justin Pizzoferrato and Jonathan Wyner. Pizzoferrato mixed the release at Sonelab and Wyner finished up the project at M-Works.
What’s great about Sticky is that not a single song lets you down. There’s plenty of variety throughout the record to keep you engrossed, without any track straying too far from the post-punk fused power-pop compositional blueprint halfsour has refined.
The intro track “Television Professor” begins to construct themes that evolve throughout Sticky; day-to-day life can feel tedious, and the humdrum is oftentimes riddled with irritability, aggravation, and dispossession, but it’s all inherently human. Sometimes we just gotta roll with the proverbial punches. These concepts ebb and flow on songs over the breadth of Sticky. In the chorus of “Built-In Guilt” Wyner shouts: “Watch me fall apart now, watch as I fall down. Watch me fall apart again.” “Milk Bath” explores the ideas of perpetually weary human encounters with lyrics like: “Please stay on your side of the room, preparing for impending doom. As if it couldn’t come too soon.”
halfsour blends together a gamut of influences on their new album. On the whole, Sticky wrangles punk-fueled, post-grunge inclinations with leisurely ardent performances. Vocal parts are sharply pronounced and powerful. Bass lines are dependable and smooth, as they lock in with staunch, sometimes spastic drumming. There’s no shortage of massively memorable guitar scattered across Sticky. Solos and lead lines in “All Gone,” “Ditches,” and “Shelf Life” (just to name a few) add in a satisfying shredability factor. The record’s ballad of sorts “Paper Window” features a hauntingly catchy turnaround, elevated by a notable, soaring guitar solo.
Sticky officially enters the world on 5/24, co-released by Fire Talk and Disposable America, but you can dive into this heavily empathetic yet entrancing sophomore full length right now. halfsour also starts a tour supporting Pile and alongside Anna Altman soon—dates are listed below.
05.22 - Boston, MA @ Great Scott *
05.25 - Portland, ME @ Apohadion
05.26 - Burlington, VT @ ArtsRiot +
05.27 - Montreal, QC @ La Vitrola
05.28 - Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern +
05.29 - Cleveland, OH @ Mahall's +
05.30 - Detroit, MI @ Trumbullplex +
05.31 - Columbus, OH @ Spacebar
06.01 - Brooklyn, NY @ Alphaville *
+ = supporting Pile
* = with Anna Altman