Neil Halstead | A Review of Palindrome Hunches

Neil Halstead is a British musician who is of the folk persuasion and is set to release a new album this September. His music is laced with calmly sung acoustic melodies often accompanied by piano interludes and the occasional violin.  All of these elements frame Halstead’s work as contemporary folk music.  Folk music is at its heart about telling cautionary tales and doing so in a style that is approachable. It invites you to join in and in a very real way, it’s expected that folk songs are to be passed along during get-togethers and times of fellowship.  Bob Dylan began his career as a folk musician, singing ancestral songs, only to make his own additions to the musical tome of folk. These songs became rallying points for a generation, to sing so that their themes and sentiments of warning could be passed on. Yes, times they were a-changin, but the more time passes the fewer things seem to actually change.  That being said, Neil Halstead does not seem to take very much from Dylan, he has his own voice and it is quite soft and inviting.

The songs that populate Palindrome Hunches are sometimes about love and loss but if the title song to this album is any indication Palindrome Hunches is about finding serenity in forgiveness. This serene sentiment can be heard in the way the piano genially plays in the background accompanied by Halstead’s lyrical bursts ranging from talk of a Toyota to the devil himself.  The overwhelming theme that continues to come back during this brief song is that you must forgive wonderings about unrealized daydreams and move on. (Or perhaps the song’s about nothing that is always a possibility.) However, if the theme of this album can be gleamed from the track Palindrome Hunches, then it is definitely about something and it definitely is worth listening to.  

Key tracks on Palindrome Hunches are, Digging Shelters, Wittgenstein’s Arm, Spin The Bottle and Palindrome Hunches

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