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Half Past Four - Rabbit In The Vestibule CD (album) cover


Half Past Four

Eclectic Prog

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4 stars 4.5 realy, impressive debute album

This young canadian band named Half past Four did an excellent job here on their first album named Rabbit in the vestibule from 2008. They gathered in this album almost all the greatest ideas must has an eclectic band from today, the result is a brilliant trip through eclectic music with a little avand gard in places and for those who are open minded and want somthing diffrent then usual prog music. The imagination of these 5 musicians is top notch, is quite rare for me to listen to such chalenging and intelligent music from newer bands, but as is with Rabbit in the vestibule everything is possible, impressive album. The musicianship is awesome, from cruchy guitar tones with a,lot of time signatures and a typical sound movements to some most amazing vocal parts I've come across lately in progressive rock, the magnificent voice of Kyree Vibrant. She has a wide registerd with a great range, from mellow to more rougher in places when pieces needs it, she make a truly solid vocal arrangements here, super on some pieces like Johnny, Southern Boogie, Biel, Bamboo or Rabbit she covers almost every zone of her voice, delivering some very catchy and intristing moments, great voice. The rest of the pieces are aswell very good, 2 instrumental tracks are here one of them hard to forget with a lot to offer - Lullaby, shows how talented and good this band is. What is realy top class here is the keyboards of Igor Kurtzman, he knows when and how to use this instrument to make some truly amazing moments here, very intristing and not very often I heared this kind of approach to keys , quite eclectic after all. So an band to watch in the future because they are amomg the best in last years, very talented with solid and intristing ideas.4- 4.5 stars, an excellent addition to my collection and to anyone who gets this album, he won't regrete it for sure. Album available at CDbaby.Recommended

Report this review (#246097)
Posted Saturday, October 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Those who believe progressive rock is defined by lengthy epics, grandiose atmospheres and displays of technical brilliance should look elsewhere, because "Rabbit in the Vestibule" will probably sound to them as little more than an intelligent, sophisticated pop album, almost totally devoid of those elements that have become stereotypical of the genre. Unlike the ever-increasing contingent of 'retro-proggers', Half Past Four are a thoroughly modern band who, while clearly acknowledging their debt to the music of the past, are not afraid to experiment with a new take on progressive rock.

The initial impression of "Rabbit in the Vestibule" may indeed be deceptive, and get the listener to find very little suggesting progressive rock, at least in any conventional sense. It is only as the album progresses, and then on further listens, that its true nature begins to unfold. Like another excellent crossover band, 3rd Degree, Half Past Four also engage in 'defiling perfectly good songs with prog', and this apparently sacrilegious act results in one of the most interesting records of the last few years.

A number of the songs on the album would indeed qualify as 'glorified' pop songs, with a traditional chorus-verse-chorus structure, and plenty of catchy hooks. Most of the tracks run between 2 and 5 minutes, and even the longest of them, "Biel" (clocking in at slightly over 8 minutes), sounds nowhere like a standard prog epic. However, even the shortest items, like opener "Missing Seventh", possess that indefinable quality that lifts them well above the average pop song. Moreover, the individual members of the band all display an impressive level of musicianship and songwriting skills - something that bodes well for the band's future.

Half Past Four's 'secret weapon', however, are Kyree Vibrant's distinctive, riveting vocals. Her delivery, witty and commanding at the same time, suits the band's quirkily attractive music to a T, and adds further interest to their compositions. With a reasonably long career as a singer, songwriter and filmmaker, and a musical background spanning various genres, she is a versatile vocalist who can tackle equally well intense, dramatic stuff such as "Biel" (possibly Kyree's finest moment on the album), or jazzy, relaxed, pieces like the Steely Dan-inspired "Strangest Dream". Hers is a voice that, at first, may not strike the listener as conventionally beautiful (in the way the dozens of more or less angelic sopranos fronting every other modern prog band can be), but whose charm and power are revealed at each listen.

The thirteen tracks featured on "Rabbit in the Vestibule" make for a variegated, often exhilarating listening experience. The slick interplay between the instruments, the diverse influences, the superb vocals keep the listener on their toes. Even though any 'classic' progressive elements are sprinkled judiciously throughout the album, and often come as a surprise - the spacey keyboard sounds in "Lullaby", the Middle Eastern vibe in "Salome", the asymmetrical drumming and bass line in "Bamboo", the guitar-organ interaction in several songs ? they are definitely there, and all the more intriguing because they are not immediately evident.

As previously stated, "Rabbit in the Vestibule" may need repeated listens for all those elements to be discovered and fully appreciated. In spite of its apparently 'poppy' nature, it is a multilayered effort, brimming with humour, creativity, and excellent musicianship. Open-minded listeners, and those who are constantly looking for new twists on their favourite genre, will be sure to appreciate this disc, and possibly be left wanting for more.

Report this review (#258982)
Posted Saturday, January 2, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars If you're looking for something unusual and a bit off the beaten path, this debut effort from Canadian ensemble Half Past Four might just be an effort to explore.

Thirteen quirky, offbeat yet highly melodic efforts are served up here, unpredictable efforts combining clean melodies and sophisticated compositional structures with dampened dissonant effects and rougher, more primitive musical elements as another central part of the package.

Quite a few numbers tends to explore musical territories that should sound familiar to fans of Gentle Giant, while others - at least in my ears - sounded more similar to an act like Madness in their stylistic expressions. And while quirky art rock and what I find to sound pretty much like ska make up some of the genres that have influenced this act, punk, jazz, ragtime, flamenco and even some tango inspired passages appear as well - some more often than others. Add in some offbeat humour Zappa would have approved and a vocalist that made me think of Toyah Wilcox and you -might- just have a notion of what this album is about.

While nowhere near avantgarde in style, this quirky yet melodic affair should be of interest to those who like challenging music - especially if they don't mind more than occasional dips into the mainstream musical pool.

Report this review (#260982)
Posted Friday, January 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Canadian act Half Past Four was born in 1999 in Toronto, Canada by two ex-Soviet imigrants, bassist Dmitry Lesov and guitarist Constantin Necrasov.They were joined soon after by another ex-Soviet, the Ukranian keyboardist Igor Kurtzman and the first line-up was completed in 2005 with the addition of female singer Kyree Vibrant.After a demo recording in 2006, Half Past Four focused on the creation of their debut CD, eventually released in 2008 with the title ''Rabbit in the vestibule''.The group was helped by drummer Art Pisanski and a few guests on sax, violin and choirs.

The style of the group is a quirky, flexible and energetic Progressive/Art Rock, which draws various influences, starting from pop sensibilities and ending even in furious Jazz realms.At times they remind of a more accesible ECHOLYN with bits from MAGENTA, minus the strong symphonic vibrations, as Half Past Four's sound is closer to Prog/Fusion.However the album is filled with some nice melodies and good guitar solos among the song-oriented pieces.Kurtzman seems to be the central figure of an album that is far from trully keyboard-oriented.An accomplished musician, which offers jazzy electric piano paces, smooth piano lines and nervous synthesizers with a great comfort.The guitar parts of the album are also pleasant, especially some great solos.Half Past Four's music contains tons of Jazz/Fusion influences, always supported by accesible song-based arrangements: plenty of jazzy pianos, some Latin-influenced drumming, some sax solos, while even the synth-driven parts have a discreet Fusion touch.But of course there are a lot more going in this band's approach, which contains also hints of Pop, Cabaret Music and Country.My only disagreement comes from Kyree Vibrant's voice, which is expressive and dynamic, but not on the same par as the trully artistic vibe of Half Past Four's music.

A nice debut, which can find fans among different music genres: From quirky Art/Pop to powerful Prog/Fusion.Lots of styles in a solid mix of accesible tunes.Recommended.

Report this review (#947022)
Posted Saturday, April 20, 2013 | Review Permalink

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