The eponymous debut album of Irish band Hal was met with critical acclaim when released by Rough Trade Records in 2005. The band, formed in 2003, comprised brothers Dave and Paul Allen, Simon Freedman, and Stephen O’Brien.
Hal was feted by some as “the” band of 2004 upon the release of their first single, “Worry About the Wind”, and their album went on to be one of the best reviewed of 2005.
There’s a strong Beach Boys influence evident in “Hal”, with close harmonies and a West Coast fresh and summery feel. There are no “B” sides in this album – every track could easily have been released as an “A” side. Brilliant in concert, the band next released the EP “Down in the Valley” in 2012, followed by second album, “The Time The Hour”. The massive hiatus between musical releases was due in no small part to main songwriter Dave Allen moving to the US. A pity, for a band with such promise.
Hal might no longer be with us (we don’t know for sure, but as nothing’s been updated for over 2 years, it seems likely) but their legacy remains on the interwebs. Check out the video for “Play the Hits” here: