by Josh Grech
Halcyon Drive are back with their second EP Untethered and the Melbourne former duo – now trio – have taken their distinctive brand of alternative pop to a whole other level. The five tracks burst with echoing vocals and looping experimentations that form catchy melodies in a perfect pop mould.
Taking the pop up a notch, Halcyon Drive deliver a bouncy, rhythmic, yet intensely personal sophomore EP with Untethered.
Kicking things off with a strut, single Reset is a great blend of their debut EP, Cruel Kids, and a newer sound as synths and falsetto vocals mix with cuttingly dynamic guitar riffs and rhythmic percussion. The addition of a synthesiser and a step in the direction of pop make a strong case for the philosophy that compromise is always the best option – but the opener also shows that they haven’t strayed from the guitars, they’re still an integral part of Halcyon Drive’s sound.
It may not be one of the two singles from the EP, but title track Untethered is Halcyon Drive at their best. It’s the song you’d play to a friend to show them what they’re all about; it’s got a bouncy beat, intricate guitar picking, and a compelling melody, perfectly representing the elements at the core of the trio. The addition of a third member adds to the arsenal of their already surprisingly expansive sound scape – providing blazing synths and backdrops of playful bass lines.
With super slick production by Steve Schram, who’s recorded an impressive roster of bands from San Cisco and The Cat Empire to Paul Kelly and Shihad, the EP was recorded in an old house in a wintery forest of country Victoria and the crisp air seemingly seeps its way into the speakers.
The infectious melodies of Everywhere I Go are sure to get stuck in your head; it starts off with a quirky riff and is scattered with joyful vocal hooks and funky bass lines. The words here are a great representation of Halcyon Drive’s lyrical content “I believed in everything when everything was alright/I believed in anything yeah anything at all/now I don’t have anything but everything is alright/better than a forest I can’t see at all”. Like much of their lyrics it’s deeply personal yet vague enough to be relatable.
Books For The Holidays is the closing track of Untethered, and it opens so delicately, with such crystalline vocals, that it lends an intensely personal nature to the song. Soaring vocals dance over the tune so lightly that they threaten to float away.
Untethered is graced by stunning idyllic moments and nuanced melodies, but at the same time overflows with upbeat tempos and catchy choruses. The five tracks lean closer towards the pop side of alt-pop than before, but they still wear their guitars with pride, providing the backbone of the songs with enthralling chord progressions and beautiful picking rhythms. Halcyon Drive have carved out their unique sound and stamped their name on it with a release that’s bolder and more cohesive than their debut – showing audiences that they’re here to stay!
Courtesy of The Happy Blog
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