The first time I heard Half Now I thought I was listening to an album from the early 80’s. The songwriting, production, vocal style and pretty much everything in between feels like it was made between 1980 and 1986. Piano Rock is the common denominator here and could be compared to bands like XTC, Elton John and Billy Joel. Half Now is comprised of six songs that are between the 3- and 4-minute mark. You have heard these types of songs before (if you haven't then you need to go to a college bar in the mid west and you will get the idea) and will know if you will be sticking around or not within the first song. While I can't see a lot of “too cool for school” hipsters spinning this album I don’t think Timbs really cares. He plays these songs unapologetically and probably is well aware of the audience that will be enjoying his music (looking at the 35+ crowd). One thing's for sure about this album is that the production sounds stellar thanks to a number of professional engineers who helped create the album.
The first thing we hear on “Shatter” is an 80’s sounding drum kit that is quickly bombarded by the rest of the band. The song reeks of guitar solos and hooks that remind me of Huey Lewis and the News. The piano playing is excellent and if Timbs ever needs a day job he should apply as the piano man at Zebra Lounge in Chicago. The song ends with a bang as it makes way for “Always Been The Same” which is almost so innocuous it becomes offensive. The song is easy to listen to and a man with no less than a pint of beer within his system would be prone to start singing along.
“Hold On” shows Timbs taking his foot off the pedal to slow things down a bit. I was listening to the song waiting for the duet with Elton John to kick in but it never happened (maybe next album?). “Serious” is a song that despite Timbs saying he is serious about a dozen times does not feel overly serious. The song continues with the sing-a-long type vibe that has made drinking too much alcohol that much more embarrassing. Ending with a solid number “Masterplan and PetRock,” it is obvious that Timbs knows what type of music he wants. If you dig piano rock this should be a no-brainer.
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