Review: Alon by Hale

Alon by HaleAt the risk of repeating myself – I wrote something similar in another album review – Hale feels comfortable. Or maybe it’s because they were everywhere during my high school and college years, when I was starting to forge my own way through music. In the nine years since they released their last full-length, Kundiman, the band split, reunited, quietly released an EP, and recaptured their reputation as that “pogi rock” band with more street cred than most. But then, that tag is a misnomer: at their best, Hale has always been good at evoking emotions at very specific points. Alon does that at its best points – the title track, with that well-timed swell; “Dreamcatcher”, quietly niggling its way into your psyche. It’s definitely a slow burn, and the deliberately subtle approach means those moments can kick harder. (I cannot fully attribute it to violinist Chino David joining: I was expecting an orchestral album, but he’s out there sparingly, and with good results.) Alon may whet your nostalgic appetite for the music of your past, but it proves Hale can still do what they do well – but with the maturity we did not know we needed. [NB]3/5

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