Though Hal‘s debut album, Hal, was released in the spring of 2005, it will most likely always be remembered as a summer album. The Irish quartet consists of brothers Dave (guitar/vocals) and Paul Allen (bass/vocals), Stephen O’Brien (keyboards), and Steve Hogan (drums). The Allen brothers sure know how to sing and their sweet and sugary vocal delivery fit Hal’s musical style perfectly. Hal’s songs are coated with hook after hook, with comparisons that easily relate to The Beach Boys or The Monkees. A few talented musicians, such as Edwyn Collins, also made contributions to the very pleasing debut from Hal. Hal’s debut is filled with poppy summer songs, but also contains the occasional love ballad.

‘Play the Hits’ would be an example of one of their summer songs. The vocals are extremely similar to that of Brian Wilson, which is harder to pull off than it sounds. It is the most accessible song on the album and is rightfully a favorite of mine. Though that song is great, my favorite on the album is ‘I Sat Down’. The song is led by Stephen O’Brien’s keys as the Allen’s vocals are filled with such emotion, that you can’t help but get some emotions rushing towards the last chorus when they really let it out. The lyrics are quite well done as well, detailing a girlfriend who lies about an affair and generally touching on the subject of trust in a relationship. ‘What a Lovely Dance’ is the opener to the song and I included it because it’s one of those songs that is really hard to hate. The chorus is really magnified by excellent vocals and several jumps in the song’s structure. It’s still summer, so pick this album up if you haven’t yet!


Hal – Play the Hits



Hal – I Sat Down



Hal – What a Lovely Dance



Official Web Site


Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

Send your music to [email protected].

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.