A dynamic debut
Julia Hope

13:43 12th August 2019

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Half Alive, the funk-driven trio who erupted globally with ‘still feel.’ - now sitting at 24 million views on YouTube - are here with their first album. The California-born band have marked their territory as an It new band after just 3 years of being on the airwaves, and they’ve sealed the deal with the feel-good Now, Not Yet. 

Anticipation has been a key factor to the success of Half Alive. Not only have they managed to release refreshing tunes throughout 2017 and 18, but they’ve kept the hype in motion by releasing foot-stomping soulful tunes throughout 2019 too. 

The album begins with ‘ok ok?’, which erupts in distorted, heavy electric guitar, then immediately halts, taking a completely different turn and chiming with the sounds of clicking tongues and acapella voices. With the introductory song already hailing a variety of genres and interesting sounds, it’s a good start and homage to the band’s enduring versatility. 

An interesting yet unexpected interlude comes in the form of ‘the notion’, which gives us a glimpse into the more personal side of the album. It’s a 37-second clip of an unknown woman’s voice, talking about her surprising comfort at the fact that the people she is touring with have “faith.”

Half Alive are known for incorporating feelings of anxiety and religion into their lyrics, particularly the influence that religion can have on a person’s well-being. Drummer Brett Kramer and Lead Singer Josh Taylor attended the same non-denominational church, which could explain some of their atmospheric lyrics and sometimes gospel-like anthems. 

Their titan hit ‘still feel.’ takes on a new persona after the interlude – this once feel-good, soulful anthem’s lyrics now seem to deliver a deeper meaning. Still the band’s best song, ‘still feel.’ is addictive from start to finish. 

Another dynamic and stand-out tune on this ever-changing album is ‘TrusT’, which is filled with funk, lust and passion – or so the melody makes it feel. It encapsulates Half Alive’s experimentation with the 1960’s and has an almost Pink Panther feel throughout. Mixing deep basslines, brass instruments and electronic synth-piano, it’s a recipe for seduction. 

Despite the band’s clear love for natural sounds and raw instruments, they have successfully incorporated the electronic into their instrumental talent and classical tastes. There is a cauldron of sounds here, each one spectacularly different from the other: layers upon layers of feel-good noises and tracks full of fruitful soul. Half Alive are the feel-good, political, soulful and musically-genius band we didn’t know we’d been yearning for and Now, Not Yet proves it. 

Now, Not Yet is out now via RCA Records.

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