After their 2017 EP 3, Californian trio half·alive are here with their long-awaited debut, Now, Not Yet : a mature, diverse, and stylish record that announces half·alive as one of the most exciting new alternative bands.
While their EP was firmly rooted in indie/alternative rock – many drew comparisons between the band and Twenty One Pilots – their first album Now, Not Yet confidently floats around different sounds, styles, and paces. It weaves in and out of slower, introspective sections and high-energy grooves that’ll have you dancing a 2-step around your bedroom or snapping your fingers as you walk down the street.
It takes your hand and guides you through a dreamy soundscape. Along the way, you’ll hear bouncy drums with flares of hip-hop and swing influence, layers of vibrant synths, catchy guitar melodies, and the occasional brass crescendo. Lead singer Josh Taylor sings about existence and trying to find our feet in this strange life. His vocals stretch from conversational contemplations to soaring falsettos. The backing vocals create the perfect balance of harmony, and the features from Kimbra and Samm Henshaw add more nuance and variety to the multifaceted album. These are songs you can listen to again and again, noticing new instrumental and productional flares with each play.
There’s a good mix of instantly catchy choruses like “still feel.” and “RUNAWAY”, and songs that creep up on you like “ok ok?” and “creature”. Every song sounds different and has something unique to offer. Although, if it’s your first time listening to half·alive, I’d highly recommend the groovy songs like “still feel.” and “arrow”. Half·alive’s videos are also phenomenal. Rather than being an arbitrary add-on to the songs, their videos are part of the package, serving to emphasise the style and mood of the music in everything from the lighting and clothing to the extensively choreographed dance moves and cinematography.
Now, Not Yet feels experimental and fluid, but in a refined way. It’d be easy to mistake this for their third of fourth album if you didn’t know better. It’s a breath of fresh air and a promise of great things to come.
For more on half·alive, check out our exclusive artist spotlight and interview.