Neil Halstead explores relationships past in his latest, Palindrome Hunches. The former Mojave 3/Slowdive lead has struck gold with this one, sounding like Jose Gonzalez if he had grown up in England
The album as a whole makes you feel like you need to call your old girlfriend, the one you haven’t seen since she moved away. The care in Halstead’s voice wraps around you like a big towel after being caught out in the rain. Palindrome Hunches is rich, warm and sweet, like a big mug of hot chocolate. Perfect autumn music, in other words.
Spin the bottle is innocent and light, while Love is a Beast sounds almost tribal with the beat. Bad Drugs and Minor Chords has a certain elegance about it. Palindrome hunches (the track), at only 2 minutes, doesn’t allow you to feel like you can fully enjoy it, but the idea here is more of a Post-it with “XOXO” on the fridge, rather than a love poem. The album gets a little more uplifting, hopeful, toward the end, with the one-two punch of Sandy/Hey Daydreamer, perhaps with the notion that the right one is on the way.
Palindrome Hunches runs a full gamut of emotion for the listener, and manages to be introspective without falling into the Shoegaze trap. Halstead recorded the entire set of tracks in a school room; one of the highlights, Full Moon Rising, was recorded in one take, a feat most impressive when you hear the complexity of it. Chances are you’ll end up listening to it more than once.