Paul Brill's debut album Halve the Light straddles the line between contemporary folk and adult alternative singer/songwriters, spiked with a hint of alt-country and neo-traditional folk. Thing is, that description makes it sound sort of studied or forced, maybe even a little precious, which this isn't at all. This is a warm, lucid album, with an intimate vibe and songs that are endearingly melodic, while being slyly lyrical -- these are nice, low-key songs delivered simply and charmingly, fitting Brill's friendly, unassuming vocals and delivery perfectly. By and large, the livelier numbers stick out the first time through -- whether it's the Neil Young-ish crawl of "Maybelline" or the rollicking "Caroline" -- but upon further plays, the slow, stately ballads work their way into the consciousness. And that's the thing about Halve the Light -- it may not be a knockout upon the first spin, but it's certainly engaging and it's subtly persuasive upon each successive listen. A real nice first effort that whets the appetite for the next record.
Performance CreditsPaul Brill Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Andrew Wyatt Piano
Andrew Cotton Bass
Diane Stockwell Violin
Rick Morse Pedal Steel Guitar
Dave Camp Guitar,Vocals
Giovanni Fusco Percussion
Technical CreditsPaul Brill Arranger,Producer
Kelley King Art Direction
Dave Camp Producer
Giovanni Fusco Engineer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Halve the Light based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Paul Brill Halve the Light (Scarlet Shame) Paul Brill has been a longtime fixture on New York City's music circuit; his recent release, the ambitious Halve the Light, (Scarlet Shame Records) should secure his place in the downtown scene as the folk guy with an edge. The record's eight tracks span the best of Brill's American roots influences, blending country twang, tongue-in-cheek pop, and home-spun bluegrass with straight-up, indie rock lyrics. Through Brill's lens the world is suburban -- one of city cafes and tragic drug escapades which all serve as backdrop for the main event, two lovers trying to work things out. Yet despite somber subjects, Brill's tunes bounce along with upbeat tempos ¿ a pleasant point-counterpoint to the tales told within. Standouts include the tightly arranged ''Love Survives Us All,'' a hushed call to a former lover tinged with acidic language: ''I always liked you silent anyway. '' Other bright spots include the funked-up bluegrass number ''Caroline''; the 60s-inspired, cheery pop of ''Start It Again'' and ''Don't Say Maybe,'' which reaches into the country backwoods with its mix of violins, mandolins and lyrics that evoke Dylan-esque round-robins. Yet Brill spares us the cliched ''lost my love'' sentimentality of C&W radio ¿Êthese songs are brainy, in a deceptively simple Wilco-like way, and as mournful as a mid-career Neil Young. Brill has honed his unique sound, paying homage to the best in American music. In an age where electronic bleeps and hip hop tend to dominate the charts, Light is clarifying alternative. - DAKOTA SMITH. Paper Magazine