February 06, 2003

Neil Halstead "Seasons"

Apparently, Mojave 3's frontman Neil Halstead likes a smoke. Or two. When you consider his track record, from the blissed-out noise of Slowdive to the mellow, country-rock of Mojave 3, and even his solo album, it's pretty apparent that there's method to his mellow. While his personal habits are not up for discussion here, these lifestyle choices do have a definite impact on his music. His solo debut, Sleeping on Roads, was a quiet stunner, and easily his best work. It certainly bridges the gap between Slowdive and Mojave 3, highlighting the man behind the music, allowing his songs to stand on their own. Mellow, slightly trippy, and, yes, extremely baked.

Seasons is a nice little compainion to Sleeping on Roads, and a nice appetizer for those hungry for Halstead's next offering. Essentially a single for the lovely "Seasons," it finds Halstead in a sun-dried mood. The "Surf Mix" of "Seasons" adds a nice little Ventures-gone-acoustic surf guitar, while the "Fort Lauderdale Remix" is a beautiful electronica acoustic remix, adding some nice electronic atmosphere, creating a new dimension of sound--as well as furthering the electronic-folk genre that only Halstead and James Yorkston have mastered.

Of course, you can't beat the new songs. "Sailing Man" is a Nick Drake-like number, which has a beautiful, ambient-folk feel, which we love a lot. "Between The Bars" is a live recording of a new number, and it's beautifully sad. Also lovely is the demo (yet somehow more intense) version of "See You On Rooftops."

Halstead seems to be incapable of making anything less than heartbreakingly beautiful music, and Seasons is certainly no exception. Certainly worth seeking out, and it will easily tide you over between now and this summer's expected arrival of Mojave 3's new album. If Seasons is any indication, that record shall be most beautiful, indeed.

--Joseph Kyle

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