Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

Earlier this summer, I haphazardly found myself observing Half Light during their CD release party that took place at The Comet Tavern in Seattle. At the time I didn’t know anything about them, but I was certainly impressed by the atmospheric and reverb-laden sound that emanated from their amplifiers. Almost two months later, I acquired a copy of their debut album, entitled Sleep More Take More Drugs Do Whatever We Want, and this disc does not disappoint. In fact, it is the best release that I have heard by a Seattle band this year.

The members of Half Light are big fans of acoustic and electric based space rock such as Mojave 3, Slowdive, Mazzy Star and The Church. Impressively, they managed to convince Tim Powles, drummer of The Church, to produce this recording. His wonderful production style that weaves a hazy, shimmering cacophony suits this band perfectly as they balance the line between beautiful and chaotic. In Powles’ own words, Half Light "certainly has what many bands dream of, a sound." A unique and memorable sound collage is what they offer their listeners, and the nine songs featured on Sleep More are all one needs to be convinced of this point.

Vocalist Dayna Loeffler comes across with a soft and bashful voice that has a slightly raspy quality, which sounds akin to Allison Shaw of Cranes at times. On the track "Barbs," these innate tones are augmented with a heavy reverb production effect. The guitars are also drenched in delay and generous amounts of echo, making the whole thing take on a truly drugged-out in space effect. This intoxicating quality is quite lovely to for the listener to indulge in.

The liquid bass line on "Charmed" scales along in a similar fashion to recent material by The Church, while pedal steel guitar provides the lead soundtrack. The pedal steel doesn’t evoke any alt-country type of sound; instead, it exists as a counterpart to the other distorted electric rhythm guitar. "Burn It Down" is a mysterious chasm of crimson darkness. Once again, the guitars crackle and blaze in unison, but at a slower tempo this time and the gorgeous hum of a cello is also featured in the mix. There is an Eastern flair to the music that is reminiscent of The Cure circa Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me. The last part of the song then segues into an acoustic guitar and multi-tracked vocal fade.

Apparently, there was an alternate title to the record that Tim Powles preferred, which was Awake at the Wheel of the Somnambulist Mobile. Both titles get the basic idea across that Half Light is making music for themselves under their own terms. Their influences, though fairly easy to observe, are not driving these songs beyond being a reference point. Half Light is a unique Seattle band to keep and eye and ear out for, as they explore a territory that is unlike much of the current independent music scene.