Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Halogens, Happy Hour, 2019

EP Review

Last Friday, Asbury Park pop punk quartet, Halogens, released Happy Hour. A listen to the six songs that make up the EP makes the title feel like a little bit of wishful thinking.

On opener "Pretty Enough," lead vocalist Zach Henry admits that his own low self-esteem may be driving people away as he sings, "I'm glad that you survived the trap you found inside my eyes / Because I'm not safe for me or you, or anyone I'm close to."

"You can find me underneath my sheets," sings Henry on "Inside;" and that idea of staying in bed to hide from the world is a recurring theme on Happy Hour. It comes up again on "Buckle" ("But instead, I laid in bed") and "O'Gorman" ("Thank you again for this spot in your bed, it’s where I lay my head so my bad days end"). On "Sometimes," though, there's a bit of pride taken in the small victory of getting up to face another day, "Hey, at least I can say that I woke up."

So, sure. There's a good deal of introspection on Happy Hour; but, musically, none of the songs is a downer. Big guitars and drums that swell to movie-size on "Pretty Enough" or the slight country twang on "Buckle" or "The Backwoods" keep things rocking. And, throughout, there are hints at a desire for change and self-improvement.

And it never pays to be too, too hard on yourself. "I wish I felt as cool as Deaglan [Howlett of The Vansaders / Beauty]. Wish I pulled off denim jackets like he can." I mean, that is a goal that just isn't achievable.

Happy Hour is available now. Halogens play an EP release show on Saturday, March 2nd, at Asbury Park Brewery with Keep Flying, ManDancing, and Blaise.

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