Maturity. Often when a band starts out they may get noticed for a number of things: good songs, something different, good live show. But following it up is nearly as important as getting noticed in the first place. The ‘difficult second album’ is as common a term as they come in music, but it’s one that holds a serious amount of weight, as many bands have a habit of peaking early before disappearing into oblivion. It Goes, It Goes (Forever & Ever) is not the second album of Dublin band Halves, but it holds as much importance. Since 2007’s Halves EP and the follow-up Haunt Me When I’m Drowsy, Halves have been steadily building momentum, gaining attention from fan and critic, and gracing stage with a complex, beautiful live performance. Now we’re finally here, the first album.
It has been two years since we were treated to Haunt Me When I’m Drowsy, so where have the band gone? And in what direction? It Goes, It Goes (Forever & Ever) is one of the most daring, complete Irish albums of the past few years. Too often some Irish artists seem afraid to push the limits of their musical experiments; Halves are certainly not guilty of this. There is an embrace of electronic influences, coupled with melodic songwriting that is rarely seen. ‘Growing & Glow’ is quite infectious, ‘Haunt Me When I’m Drowsy’ is the melancholic ‘sleeper hit’ and ‘I Raise Bears’ is arguably the band’s most mature offering to date. The guest vocals from Katie Kim are both amorous and sombre, working in quite elegant harmony with Tim Czerniak. ‘Don’t Send Your Kids to the Lake’, though, is simply sublime – the pièce de résistance.
So that’s what this album is about, you see. Maturity. Perhaps it is why we have waited for so long, and if so, it’s been worth the wait. This was sink-or-swim time for Halves – not that they disappointed and were on the chopping block – but because if they had not grown since their last release they may have just been forgotten in an increasingly fickle music scene. But it is not so. Halves stand victorious.