April 10, 2012 - Arts and Crafts
This review originally ran in AP 286.
In some respects, this collaboration between Broken Social Scene drummer Justin Peroff and two members of now-defunct rockers the Stills (keyboardist/percussionist Liam O’Neil and vocalist/guitarist Dave Hamelin) sounds exactly what you’d expect from musicians with their pedigree. Indie-leaning pop constructed using piano, acoustic guitar, glittering percussion and moody keyboards dominates their self-titled debut. Often, this leads to pleasant but forgettable songs, leaning toward Britpop (“Walked Into Diazepene,” the Glasvegas-esque “Oh, My Head”). Eight And A Half succeed when they lose themselves in lovely melancholy (the surging synth-pop bloom “The Turn Around,” Hamelin’s delicate vocal croon on the Echo & The Bunnymen-esque “Wait Up”) or indulge their quirks, as on the Battles-lite electro-rock scramble “Two Points” and the occasional left-field loop.