Hal - Hal
Hal Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 5 Ratings

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  • Summary: The Dublin-based quartet debuts with a record filled with echoes of California circa the 1960s and 70s (think Brian Wilson) rather than Ireland.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. There's not much drama or keeping-it-realness in Hal's golden, Beach Boys-influenced world, but who can't use a dollop of guilty pleasure?
  2. Echoes of the Beatles, Harry Nilsson, the Beach Boys, and Phil Spector are everywhere, and while those aren't exactly unique or even very interesting reference points in 2005, Hal again go beyond imitation and use their influences as a good band should, as guides and not blueprints.
  3. 80
    The melodies are so lush and the arrangements so stylish that you can't deny them. [Jun 2005, p.105]
  4. So what is there to learn here? How about ‘Hal are generally good, although they’re usually better when they’re trying to blow our minds rather than win our heart’.
  5. You'll either find it cloying and saccharine or heartfelt and precise, or maybe a little bit of both.
  6. Lushly produced bubblegum made less palatable by elementary lyrics. [#10, p.111]
  7. Doesn't make many lasting impressions. [Jul 2005, p.182]

See all 16 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. mrsoul
    Aug 8, 2005
    a masterpiece! grows on you like a peachy smelling plant. like all great music, makes you love. the harmonies, like all good ones, possess a sense community, hence the love. really divine and humane. Expand
  2. IanO
    May 11, 2005
    Infectious. Climbs all over you like an Indian Summer. These guys know a hook or two about 60's Wilson. Happy sad music for the young and old. Let it try salvage your soul. Expand
  3. PhilM
    May 24, 2005
    A gem of an album that reveals more hidden depth with each listen
  4. Allistair
    May 11, 2005
    The feel good album of the year. HAL is probably the only band that replicates the sounds of 60s pop classics to make a masterpiece of their own. A must have of 05. Expand