Right out of the gate, I get the feeling that the band Half Beat is all about YOLO. Have fun, take chances, write music, do whatever the hell you want. Their album Big Kids is playful and has a punk rock attitude that sparks each song with urgency and definitely contributes to their live shows. And of course, you can’t ignore that mean horn section breaking the mix with a brass infused rebellion.
Half Beat describes the sound akin to Sublime and Reel Big Fish, which I think is an accurate comparison, most specifically if Reel Big Fish was covering Sublime songs and didn’t really pay much attention to those dance hall chillers a la “DJs.” My ‘90s friends know what I’m talking about. With Big Kids, things get going and they stay going because when you have six hyper music nerds in a room the energy never dies. Sure, it might take a dip here and there, but just when you might kick back on the groove the guitar comes back with its scratchy movement, the drums incline the hats and bash away, and the vocals reach for darker tones in gang chorus, but it’s not really screaming - this isn’t hardcore after all.
As I said earlier, Half Beat doesn’t let up on the trigger until the very end. Funny enough, the opener, “The End” is just how this riot begins. A sweaty party of power ska and skunk bud…I mean, probably. The horns outline the main melody and then give way to the quintessential tone of surf rock, it’s The Mighty Mighty Bosstones incarnate, but with more youthful arrogance and less suits.
“Brooks Was Here” lets up on the tempo in some parts, maybe the most we see on the album. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s not a ballad or anything, just a grooving recliner track. By the end, “New Wardrobe” follows suit with even more reserve including a nice breakdown allowing the trumpet, sax, and trombone to take a walk over the progression and showcase a little sum-sum. Then the drums build up in crescendo and it’s a full on orgy of head banging horn blasts in killer outro fashion.
Big Kids is a solid work and I’m quite impressed with Half Beat’s stylistic blend, so much so that I want to see them on Warped Tour. Look into it guys – all the best.
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