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Band: Half Past Four

CD Title: “Rabbit in the Vestibule”

Band Website: www.halfpastfour.com

Label: Independent

Label Website:

Release Date: 2008

 

In Canada, we have lots of open spaces, lots of lakes, mountains and trees, but the one thing we don’t have many of are progressive rock bands. So when I get an email from a Canadian prog band looking for a review, you can bet I’ll be there to do my part. Such was the case when the keyboardist of Half Past Four emailed me asking if I I’d be interested in hearing their CD Rabbit in the Vestibule to which I responded, you bet! This quirky Toronto band has been together since early 2005 and over that time has played live venues everywhere, put out a well received demo and even scored a horror film. Half Past Four is made up of Kyree Vibrant (vocals), Constantin Necrasov (guitars), Igor Kurtzman (keyboards) and  Dmitry Lesov (bass) and to put it simply their music is all over the map incorporating influences from more genres than you can imagine.   

 

Rabbit in the Vestibule consists of 13 track ranging in length from 2:37 to 8:14 and the musical style is squarely in the quirky Art Rock category but unlike a band like Ambrosia or Alan Parsons the music crafted here has more in common with artists like Frank Zappa mixed with Crack the Sky but just to shake it up Half Past Four feature female vocals. Many of the songs are stitched together by the sound of footsteps and doors opening and closing to play off the cover art. These are compositions that swing and sway, melodies pop up in the most unexpected places, as do unusual chord and rhythm patterns. Track three, “Poisoned Tune” [7:53] is a good example of what’s going on here. Things get underway with a mid-tempo section that opens up every-so-often to allow little musical motifs to surface. This gives the music a strange kind of lilt; you could almost dance to it, if under the right influence. Then the music begins to take a bit of a turn at the 1:30 mark, getting a little more tentative, almost hinting at ominous. Before too long we’re back to the opening phrases which proceeds till about the 5:00 minute mark where the lyrics start repeating the line “ignorance is bliss” in a kind of multi-part round until that changes to a more aggressive guitar/keyboard ending. The overall tone of the music is never very heavy instead there are subtle shades of complexity that exude a kind of intricate pop music approach. The compositions are always bouncing from one musical line to the next. The guitars tend to sound clean, very little crunchy distortion and sprinkled throughout you’ll hear saxophone, tin whistle and violin. The most proggy piece is “Biel” [8:14] which starts out with massed choirs, distorted guitar lines and keyboards. The tune is epic in scope with nice swelling power chords.      

 

If you’ve ever listened to bands like Bryan Scary and the Shredding Tears you’ll appreciate what’s going on musically here. But there are also little tiny hints of bands like Yes and King Crimson buried here and there; a guitar line or a keyboard run. The next time you’re scratching your head looking for something different, something a little off-kilter grab hold of Half Past Four’s Rabbit in the Vestibule. This is a sparkling first CD and really bodes well for future releases. I like it!

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