In Halflight Our Soul Glows

Fourteen Twentysix

Mine All Mine Records, 2012

http://www.fourteentwentysix.com

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/01/2013

With Lighttown Closure, the debut full length by Fourteen Twentysix, the band showed its true potential as a unique prog-rock outfit that’s mainly driven by synthesized sounds, great production work, and a fantastic ear for melody. Lighttown Closure is an exceptional record. But just as it might seem that the band couldn’t really top this release, here comes In Halflight Our Soul Glows, which makes Lighttown pale in comparison. Lighttown really set the bar high for Fourteen Twentysix, but my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Halflight pushes the bar so high up that it can’t even be seen from the ground.

On Halflight, Fourteen Twentysix sounds like a totally different band: a more confident and ballsy doppelganger. Singer and band mastermind Chris van der Linden doesn’t sound like his coy, reserved self anymore. There is spunk in his voice and he sings as if he means it, as if he demands the listener’s undivided attention. Also, his voice has so much more range in it; sometimes he sounds like another person altogether, especially when he has a much more enraged tone, for instance on “Sleepwalker.”

The new swagger in van der Linden’s voice has also got to do with the swagger in the album’s music itself. Halflight is a record with a meaty sound, as this is the band’s most richly produced work. The dynamics of the music is such that the songs are relentless. There is no lull to be found here, and all the songs have insatiable rhythms that keep the disc in a charging mode from start to finish.

Similar to previous releases by Fourteen Twentysix, Halflight is a complex album. But the songs are relatively short, with only two of them going over five minutes (but still under six minutes). This is quite uncharacteristic of this group, since their songs generally take a slow course with long intros/musical interludes.

But on Halflight, there is a lot going on within the tightness of the tracks that go through rapid changes – most notoriously (and absolutely brilliantly) the tempo changes on “Hollow,” which even manages to squeeze in a nice piano solo amid its various dizzying transformations. The band has crammed a lot into this record. But everything flows perfectly and smoothly on this simple and phenomenal record, which easily is one of the best albums in rock music’s recent past.

Rating: A

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