All those of an addictive personality look away now for we are about to expose the newest curse set to consume and manipulate the youth of today, Halfling’s Leaf. A band from Stockport in the UK, this is a four man noise conjuring machine which can be best described as having a sound which teases like a mix of Melvins, Rage Against The Machine, The Fall Of Troy, At The Drive In, and Primus. To be honest they are impossible to pin down, their unique toxin of punk n funk an irresistible and irrepressible contagion released under the mask of latest EP, High Time. Their second release following the equally impressive Ain’t No Candy EP of last year, the six track tempest is sonic and rhythmic devilment which will ignite the deepest passions for all who have a reticence to entertain normality, regular time signatures, and passionless monotony.
Formed in 2011 and consisting of vocalist Matt Franklin, guitarist/vocalist Mayo, bassist/vocalist Chid Seisay, and drummer/vocalist Andy Preece, Halfling’s Leaf teases, torments, and virulently dances with the senses through a hybrid of flavours soaked in instinctive mischief and skilled sonic anarchy. High Times is made up of a sextet of noise sculpted miscreants which simply call out to like-minded hearts and thoughts like an insidious siren, their lure and temptation insatiable but carrying an epidemic of rewards to thrill and excite let alone ignite the passions. Produced by the band alongside Dan Buxton, who also mixed and mastered the tempestuous taunt, the EP has everything and more that you could wish for in soul corruption.
Opening track Your Welcome… immediately riots on the ear with squalling vocals from Franklin and band alongside energetic and infectious riffs. It is an instantaneous temptress which continues its wantonness through the evolving bass croon of Seisay and fiery grooves of Mayo and equally salacious hooks. Unbridled in attitude and breath sapping enterprise the song lifts the emotions into a mutual stomp but just as you are flinging limbs in tandem it slips easily into a sultry stroll of provocative sonic sex. The rhythms of Preece chip away at the ear whilst the bass plays within with devious craft to its persuasion, the song brewing up another rampage though this time driven by persistently shifting stances and sonic slights of hand before unleashing one final punk spitting climax.
The outstanding start is continued through the following Goon Hammer, the track opening up its throat with again compelling bass bait to lure in the appetite and the excellent vocal exploits of Franklin. His jagged delivery at the beginning of the song picks and pokes at the listener with an almost Marilyn Manson like irreverence whilst the guitar matches his plotting with similarly spiky melodic incitement. With a gait which crawls and explores every inch of the psyche, the track stomps with predatory and maniacal intent unleashing a RATM grooved like entrapment before scooting and scrambling rhythmically and sonically with avant-garde bedlam. It is another enthralling and stunning rummage through one’s mind for the purest pleasure.
Scopplers waltzes through a funk spiced stroll of near discordant majesty aligned to a sonic palette of vibrant and searing colours whilst another expertly bred groove entrances the ear, this time with a stoner like breath, latched onto agitated rhythms and a raw expressive energy. As well as the quality of the release the song pushes the diversity out further as does the following pair of Hej and Hit It and Quit It. The first of the twin strikes of aural mania leaps at and quicksteps across and through the ear with a funk clad romp which comes with the swagger of Red Hot Chili Peppers and the irresistible heat of Pigbag before evolving into a punk speared roister of intensive rhythmic disorientation, guitar and bass snarling, and vocal scathing. It is another infection which would be outlawed in any other recreational past time, a tempestuous virus which could be described as System Of A Down meets Pere Ubu in the arms of the Cardiacs, and quite ingenious.
The second of this pair is different in voice but similar in unhinged construction, and arguably the one which without losing its creative psychotic charm offers a more straightforward canvas for less adventurous people to feast upon. To be fair though with a drift into a warm yet deranged ambience whilst St. Vitus dance rhythms frame the detour, it is never offering anything merely to satisfy expectations and stay at home appetites.
S.N.C. closes up the psycho party with one final torrent of rhythmic destruction, sonic scorching, and vocal scathing, a punk/noise rock exploitation which has the incendiary insistence of a pissed off hornet and the creative corrosive might of a tsunami. It is a brilliant certifiable conclusion for a magnificent release which easily sits amongst the best of 2013.
High Time is a release everyone should at least dip their sanity into before losing their mental strength to the delicious toxicity that is Halfling’s Leaf.
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