Review: Haelos' "Full Circle"

Category:  The Arts
Thursday, March 24th, 2016 at 2:09 PM
Review: Haelos' Full Circle  by Britton Rozzelle

 Haelos’ (pronounced “Halos”) first full album, “Full Circle,” shows that despite some minor flaws, there is always a place for downtempo, beat-focused, electronic blues songs in my life and this album fits that oddly specific bill perfectly.

At first listen, the band sounds impeccably similar to The Xx, with a dichotomy of vocals on each track—one male, one female—that lends itself immediately to comparison. Much like The Xx, each song on this album is simple and clean, each stays for exactly long as it needs to and have a darkly mysterious nature to them—all the while blending the haziness of an Xx song with traditional house stylings. It’s incredible, really, to see such a unique and refined sound come from a band’s first album, and that only plays into their favor

“Intro/Spectrum” is a near two-minute-long loading screen into the rest of the album, presenting a spoken word track about the concept of love—a common theme on the rest of the tracks on the LP. It flows perfectly into “Pray,” which begins with the aforementioned dual vocals that immediately kick into an entrancing bridge that carries us the rest of the way to “Dust,” a much more refined track in comparison, but strong nonetheless.

The title track, “Full Circle,” holds nothing back—blending the spoken word aspects of “Intro” with soaring vocals, a strong contrast between both the male and female voice, synth and a particularly alluring bassline. It’s a high energy track that proves the capability of this band, and one that I am particularly fond of.

“Earth Not Above” combines the distant lyrics of a SPC ECO song with a Boards of Canada-inspired production, creating an aesthetically interesting piece of music that unfortunately sinks behind the power of “Full Circle” and the incredibly fun, house-inspired track “Oracle,” which takes the crown for my personal favorite song on the album.

Unfortunately, “Alone” and “Separate Lives” failed to make any meaningful impression, and frankly felt like they could have just been one, long and not particularly interesting track. The same can be said for “Sacred” and “Cloud Nine,” which simply play it safe using what tools they have established in the first half of the album.

Thankfully, the final track “Pale” manages to make up for the middling tracks with a gut-punch of a hook that literally comes from nowhere and fights to ensure that this album isn’t forgotten.

Ultimately, “Full Circle” is a particularly promising first album from Haelos, and I’m looking forward to where they go from here. “Full Circle” is available now through Matador Records, on iTunes and streaming on Spotify.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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