“Call all the words out of me,” Henry Green croons on the opening track of his second album ‘Half Light’. On the surface it is a nice lyric, but there's a hidden meaning here, too - the lyric marked the point when writers block turned into inspiration. Even the song in question has a feel of creative awaking, opening as it does with minimal organ and Green’s vocals. As he repeats “call all the words out of me” in mantra-esque fashion, the song swells underneath until around the halfway point it breaks loose, and a slow cascade of gently undulating synths descends upon us. The way Green causally builds to a graceful point is echoed through out the album.
‘Tide’ features a guest spot from Andreya Triana. Having been a fan since her underrated debut album ‘Lost Where I Belong’ her inclusion is one of the standout moments on the album. Musically ‘Tide’ follows on from the ‘All’, but instead of starting off all minimal and moody the track opens with a catchy beat/synths combo. Then Triana’s voice emerges from the electronic fug and the sun comes out. As ‘Tide’ progresses Green is gracious with his guest and allows Triana is given room to shine.
‘Yoyuu (Interlude)' is one of the standout moments on the album. Opening with luscious strings it acts as a centrepiece that holds the album together. As strings rise, and fall, glitchy field recordings start to emerge grounding the song in reality, making it more than just a song on a down-tempo pop album.
What makes ‘Half Life’ such an enjoyable listen is the honesty Green puts across. Part of the confessional feeling is because he recorded it in the loft studio at his house over six-month. When you are the only person in front of the microphone everything you say feels like an admission of some kind, but this what makes ‘Half Life’ such a delight. You feel like Green is unburdening himself directly to you. After each lyric he becomes freer.
The downside to the album is Green’s vocal range never really gets much above a whisper. So, to really get the full impact you have to give yourself up to the album fully. Any kind of distraction is exactly that. It distracts you from Green’s plaintive stories of love, loss, and redemption.
‘Half Life’ is the kind of album you can get lost in. Green has a knack of tangling us up in his catchy melodies. Some are complex. Some are simple. All are wonderfully addictive. “Call all the words out of me” Green sing on ‘All’. He might not have called all the words out, but he’s definitely called out the ones that matter.
Words: Nick Roseblade
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