Hal - Hal

Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. 80
    The melodies are so lush and the arrangements so stylish that you can't deny them. [Jun 2005, p.105]
  2. 80
    Whereas The Thrills' second album fizzled commercially because of an increasingly arch knowingness which many found alienating, Hal--perfectionists, eschewing irony--keep the envelope taut, the air fresh. [May 2005, p.106]
  3. 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.
  4. The sort of tunes The Beautiful South mislaid on the nation's pub jukeboxes years ago, often tinged with a soulful alt-country lilt. [May 2005, p.116]
  5. 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?
  6. There’s nothing groundbreaking here, and this record could very well sound sickeningly syrupy come December, but Hal have found a way of reflecting the sun from a time when it wasn’t quite so poisonous.
  7. Hal is basically just a pleasant, fun album.
  8. The results are undeniably lush, yet slightly lacking in soul. [16 Apr 2005, p.50]
  9. 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’.
  10. Full of serious songs with sunny, heavily polished arrangements.
  11. You'll either find it cloying and saccharine or heartfelt and precise, or maybe a little bit of both.
  12. Naïve, twee, lacking imagination and pointlessly derivative on one hand but - with summer on the horizon and given a forgiving mood – this is also sunny, carefree and great background music to waft over your BBQ.
  13. Lushly produced bubblegum made less palatable by elementary lyrics. [#10, p.111]
  14. 40
    Instead of sunshine-pop sugar, there's the cloying tang of saccharine. [Jun 2005, p.109]
  15. The record's glossy sheen and sharp nostalgia give it a calculated, lab-constructed feel.
  16. Doesn't make many lasting impressions. [Jul 2005, p.182]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 5 Ratings

User 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. Full Review »
  2. PhilM
    May 24, 2005
    A gem of an album that reveals more hidden depth with each listen
  3. 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. Full Review »