In the current climate of singles being the drawing power in bringing in new ears for new music, the concept of whole album sales have been on the decline. This is in part due to entities like iTunes and the sort gaining a greater market share compared to retailers of tangible records like Best Buy. In fact, record stores inside local malls have gone the way of the horse and carriage. Sure, you still see them, but mostly in a novelty sort of manner.
This brings me to my review of Half Drawn’s Breaking Free LP, released this past June. Different from prior generations of reviews where an album would be mailed off, then given a listen, followed by the review being sent back, I gained immediate access to Breaking Free at the very moment I was asked to review it. Granted, I enjoy the instantaneous satisfaction this brings to my occupation. However, I can’t shake the feeling that having something to hold, and artwork to view in tandem with list of songs offered up by Half Drawn, would further expand my listening pleasure. To be candid, I had to wonder if bands still arrange their tracks in a certain order with the intent of painting a considerable larger picture than the individual songs themselves. Breaking Free does this with a bravura comprised of a musical palette that can only be appreciated when listening to the tracks in order from the first to the last.
Given the secret link to Breaking Free … I was also directed: “do not pass out.” I may have misunderstood the request, but I thought “This album won’t make me faint, will it?” While I am happy to say that I did not lose consciousness, I now understand why ladies pass out in droves when witnessing their idols perform on stage.
As a general rule, I don’t include lyrics in my reviews, simply for the reason that I feel it doesn’t serve the nature of the song as it is implemented. What I can say, is that lyrical arrangement throughout Breaking Free is both clichéd and innovative, simultaneously. From “Flying” “Ascension” “Clear Water” “Masquerade” and “Taken for Granted” …the overarching journey is laid out through the strength of guitars and reinforced through the percussion of drums. It has been a great deal of time since I have just laid back and listened to an album in this fashion. Half Drawn returned me to a time when music was my very being.
I continue on with “Veil of Vanity” “Seven” “Ravenous” along with “Head Held High.” The symbolism illustrates an epic pinnacle. The vocals beseech a hardened sense of emotion whilst the language defies an interior agony. The music carries the listener effortlessly though impending melodies and harrowing vibrations of guitar strings. The highs and lows go beyond the notes, penetrating the soul.
The conclusion arrives represented by “God Save the Queen” and “Syphon.” Half Drawn’s Breaking Free delivers in every aspect to what the components of an album should be. I found myself looking up www.halfdrawn.com to research when the next release could be expected.
I would like to extend my personal thanks to Nick Schwenk (vocals), Jayme Hinnershitz (drums), Javier Pedraza (bass) and Robert Tyrrell (guitar), for the reminder that an album doesn’t have to be tangible to have substance.