Review: Henry Green’s ‘Half Light’ feels like waking up on a day off

6 July 2020

Suffice to say that in the Year of Our Lord 2020, we’ve all had our fair share of emotional rollercoasters. There are moments when you feel inspired and in control, there are other moments when you feel anything but. Sometimes, it’s almost like you’re sleepwalking.

From his attic studio, dream pop artist Henry Green has produced a sophomore album that feels a bit like waking up on a day off. Equal parts Japanese House and The 1975 (or at least their recent output), Half Light manages to stretch this feeling over an eight-track-plus-interlude offering that is effusive and remarkably consistent for the turbulence of our times. Equally remarkable is that Green would’ve had very few days off himself, having delivered the album in just six months. 

The essence of the album comes to life in the opening track, ‘All’. Starting with nothing but a synthesiser, Green pleads with himself, “call all the words out of me,” before building towards a rolling climax where this sentiment is repeated with more urgency yet assurance. While the first lyric for the album captures a struggle with writer’s block, this first song captures the beginnings of a thaw. “I’m hearing faint diphthongs,” he sings, “half light, half light,” before the rest of the instrumentation unfurls, carrying us into the album’s body.

There, Green builds rhythmically and texturally in a steady, if a little plateaued, direction. “My words afloat”, he sings on the goosebumpy Track 4 (‘Sunlight’), his album continues to do just that—it suspends itself in its delightfully warm, part-real-part-synthesised soundscape, never quite breaking the surface. 

The interlude (‘Yoyuu’), halfway in, takes its name from a Japanese idiom meaning the calm before a storm, though indeed it’s a storm that never arrives. Meanwhile, the timbre continues to juxtapose identifiable instrumentation and sounds with pops of synthesiser, perhaps best exemplified in the decadent penultimate track ‘Between Us’. The tenor sax on ‘Idle’, featuring Ghostly Kisses, is also pleasantly novel. 

Ultimately, Half Light is an album that wraps itself in serene, quiet comfort, beyond the window sunlight just peeking through.

The album can be streamed or purchased here.


Press shot provided by paperplanespr.

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