If this search produces such ethereally melodic songs, let's hope he doesn't find what...
Niky Daley 2002-11-20
The first solo album from the Mojave 3 and former Slowdive singer starts with the uptempo Seasons. Nature is clearly a subject close to the writer's heart and the singer-surfer-songwriter mixed and recorded some of the album in his home-town Cornwall. The negative and positive ions from the sea osmose into a chilled and flowing album that reflects the soothing power of the big outdoors.
Instrumentation is mainly acoustic, although Nick Holton is credited with 'funny noises' which appear on a couple of tracks. The subtle effect on Halstead's voice in Two Stones In My Pocket is reminiscent of Chris O'Connor's in the Primitive Radio God's Standing Outside A Broken: the result is a track every bit as powerful.
Melancholy is woven throughout but the restrained trumpet brings it to the fore in Driving With Bert. Elsewhere it takes on a mariachi tone, but here wails in unison with the sentiments "music for your head, love is for your pain".
Halstead has often been compared to Nick Drake, and his response to Drake's Northern Sky in terms of lyrical beauty is Hi-Lo And Inbetween. Both use a piano driven melody, but lyrically where Drake had found "magic as crazy as this", Halstead's desire remains unrealised.
On other tracks Halstead takes on a more Dylanesque tone, and the waltzy Martha's Mantra wouldn't have sounded out of place on a Simon & Garfunkel record.
The album echoes a road movie in sound and lyrical content that is further reinforced by its title Sleeping On Roads. The characters contained are either in limbo or on quests: "But heaven is the place that's open , when all the bars in town are closed, heaven is the place, I never find".
If this search produces such ethereally melodic songs full of intense longing, let's hope he doesn't find what he's looking for too soon.