Parisian alt-rock band Halflives have been building up quite the momentum and steam in their short time active. Having released their debut album ‘Empty Rooms’ back in 2017, they have followed it up with a handful of singles and two EPs, ‘Resilience’ and ‘V’. It is this second EP, released earlier this year, that I’m checking out today. Having found them through a sponsored social media post and having only heard the one song, safe to say I’m pretty excited for this one!
Opener ‘Vibe’ fades in with a great guitar riff before Linda Battilani’s powerful vocals come in over the top with a catchy melody. It’s straight to the point and a great way to open an EP. It opens out into the whole band making the riff sound MASSIVE before dropping back out again quickly for the verse. The pre is another catchy vocal line that could be easily chanted back by a live crowd before the huge chorus comes back in to add to the hook. It’s pop-rock at its finest and although I for some reason expected it to be a tad heavier, I’m fully down with this. The chorus is so damn catchy it’s going to be stuck in my head for days. It’s short and sweet too, clocking in at under two and a half minutes and finishing not long after the second chorus. Awesome and easily playlisted!
‘Victim’ opens straight into another fantastic vocal line from Linda, this time backed by a simple piano note repeated before it heads into a more traditional pop-rock verse. Atmospheric sounds over the top of the simple drumbeat all perfectly back the vocals, building into another massive, awesome chorus. It’s fairly steady-paced, profanity led and the same vocal line that opened the song, but performed with the rest of the band filling out the sound makes it so much bigger and catchier. We get a stripped-back bridge part after the second chorus, it briefly building back up into a final chorus. I have to admit it did get a little repetitive towards the end, the chorus lines were repeated a hell of a lot throughout the fairly short song, but it’s definitely one way to write an earworm of a song. Another good track!
‘Valkyrie’ is another track similar to the previous that opens on Linda’s awesome vocals, and at least this time it isn’t the chorus opening things up! The song is more on the pop side of their work as opposed to the rock, as even the first chorus is relatively stripped back, featuring no hint of distorted guitars or heavy drums. We do get a fairly heavy riff coming out of it, some electronic sounds reminiscent of Linkin Park or Bring Me The Horizon sounding over the top. It, unfortunately, drops back down again for the second verse and chorus, but it is all still so damn catchy that it’s hard not to love it. The heavier instrumentation comes back in for longer after the second verse and the vocals come in over the top, sounding the best of the chorus lyrics so far, in my opinion. It then drops back down, building up through another quieter chorus into the heaviest part of the EP so far, a huge almost breakdown riff to quickly close out the track.
The song that I had heard previously as it is their biggest, ‘Villain’, is next. It opens on a fantastic riff, almost grungy in its attitude and grit. We get the vocal hook of the song at the end of it, transitioning perfectly into a simple, steady verse. It builds perfectly into a plodding, brooding, pretty heavy chorus. The instrumentation is simple behind the singular repeated line of vocals, but damn if the electronic sounds again add so much depth and energy to the track that it’s impossible to dislike. The way the guitars take on the vocal melody after the second chorus was awesome too, making it somehow even catchier. A fantastic bridge really shows off Linda’s range, her high vocals sounding just as good as her usual lower range. A final chorus finishes a fantastic song, and another that easily makes the playlist!
‘V (Psycho)’ opens the heaviest of the bunch, a great opening riff that unfortunately drops out a little too soon into an at this point predictable verse. Despite the opening riff, it is also possibly the lightest song on the EP, it not picking up the heaviness again until the final chorus, and even then it’s just adding distorted chords behind it. It was still a damn enjoyable song and one that I will probably find myself listening to again, I just feel like they never quite hit the epic highs they could have by going all out on one or two of the riffs.
Overall: This was an enjoyable EP! It was something different as outside of the likes of Dorothy I don’t listen to too much that is this poppy, but this was as good a stepping stone into the genre as it could get. I can’t wait to hear more from this band, and only hope that they build on their sound a little more with their next release, adding a little more intrigue to their music!
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