Reviewed by Michael Chamy, Fri., Aug. 9, 2002
HalleyForget the Leaves, Autumn Will Change Us (Hooked on Sonics!) The latest bright hope to come streaking out of the Austin sky, Halley has put together a remarkable debut for Hooked on Sonics!, a local multimedia company also responsible for the sharp design of the album artwork and music videos. Opener "Adventures of George (Record Player Pt. 1)" is a bona fide attention-grabber, with its subdued groove that bursts into a strobe-light frenzy as a bombastic barrage of horns kicks in. Spoken-word samples and other strange sounds cut in and out of the mix as the infectious brass arrangement carries it to its conclusion. Then "Heart Attack on a One-Way Street" comes forward with a sugary sonic spazz-out. The frazzled stop-start attack and vocal mannerisms recall Mercury Rev's classic debut Yerself Is Steam in all its chaotic glory. This might be a damnation if Halley's cut didn't conjure up every bit of the overdriven psychocandied fun missing from the Rev repertoire of late. Then Halley drops some subtlety on us. "Movie Song -- Trailer Theme," a construction of laptop beats and piano, soars on the back of distorted whale-song screeches. Mellow moments that sound a bit too much like MercRev's Deserter's Songs are quickly redeemed by "As Cheap as Fake," on which a funereal vibe gives way to an angelic chorus and what sounds like harp strings. The grandiose 12-minute finale, "Kites Are Slow Downers," exudes a Sigur Ròs-like grandeur, with woozy vocals submerged beneath atmospheric layers that peel away in a voluminous landslide. A marvelous ending to a sparkling first outing.