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HALFNOISE | Natural Disguise

Label: Congrats Records
Release Date: October 04, 2019
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
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October 03, 2019
By Alan Ho
And who says retro isn't the way to go? While music acts have reached back for the 1980s and all its wonderful glory, some have reached even further back...when rock music began its ascent into the music zeitgeist and The Beatles just stormed the shores of America and then later found some inspiration for a "lonely band.". Yes, that's right. The 1960s and 1970s. You probably know Zac Farro as the drummer for pop rockers Paramore but for a while, in particular while he did depart from the group for a little, has another project, HALFNOISE. Started as a DIY project, in the same vein as Secondhand Serenade, Jack's Mannequin and The Rocket Summer, Zac was the only steady man guiding the project. But now, he brings along five of his friends along for the ride to create a sound that is decidedly rooted in the 60s and 70s classic rock Farro grew up listening to with the whimsy and production tailor made the 21st century. It is organic, yet funky, with flourishing touches of psychadelic and trippiness.

2 EPs and 2 full length albums later, the project has released their latest creation, Natural Disguise, a continuation of the musical journey. It is not exactly reinventing the wheel, but there is a progression on the wheel itself on the production side, which is more modern in nature.

There is most certainly a KONGOS-like feel to the album from start to finish but with a more slicker production perspective and some pretty slick guitar finger picking that is a lasting hallmark of the album. But the motif does decidedly begin to wear thin a little more than halfway through the album a bit, almost a dragging type feeling a listener has when they think an album or even song might have gone a bit way too long. But overall, Natural Disguise is about getting to the beach with your best friends, have a good time, ride the wave a little and pop open a few cold ones.

We normally do a track by track analysis as best as possible, but this is one of the few ones we won't do it. There are some standouts in Natural Disguise, like the title track itself with its rollicking rhythm and the maracas shaking in the background. It might see itself on TV shows sooner than later. But the last two tracks in the album are the real standouts, offering hints where Farro and his revolving door of assisting members will go to next. But it's a shame you have to feel the sounds preceding it wear thin past the title track. "Beautiful Someone" and "Daisy" are the most stripped and bare lyrically while offering a more subtle, understated and drawn out melody and instrumentation. They are both very mellow and offer a look into the next step in Farro's journey with HalfNoise!

Natural Disguise
continues the progression of going back in time, now awash in 60s and 70s funky rock beats with a large helping of psychadelic. It admittedly wears thin nearing the midway point of the thirteen track offering but if you can get past that feeling, you will be rewarded with the two best tracks at the end in "Beautiful Someone" and "Daisy," both of which offer a hint on what is next for Zac Farro and his project. But hey, at least in the beginning, you feel like jamming funky but at the end, you just want to chill and be able to think alone with your thoughts?
Alan Ho is the co-founder, CEO and Chief Publisher/Webmaster of Musiqtone.com.  In between his IT guy duties in his day job, watching CW superhero shows, rooting for the Cubs and his alma mater Purdue, he manages to find time to review albums, make an infrequent sit-down in the Hot Seat and go cover a show or two. Tweet him at @atrain2324, he tweets, therefore he tweets.
Tori Kelly

Tori Kelly

Tori Kelly

Tori Kelly

Tori Kelly

We Are Scientists

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