Thursday, September 4, 2008
The twilight-saturated folk-pop of Neil Halstead is a pleasure to listen to, even if, like soy products, his music diminishes manhood and makes dudes feel twee.
The jaunty yet melancholy title track, in which the speaker observes a girl tapping out her novel on a typewriter, revels in the odd power of creativity. She “says the plot is getting stranger/ It’s taken over/ And the hero’s run away/ And no one told her/ But she can’t control the page.” “Little Twig,” meanwhile, is a paean to carefree beauties clattering around town on dingy bicycles that sound “like a can of nails on an angel’s tail.”
It’s when Halstead focuses on his lyrics that a song like “No Mercy for the Muse” can manage to wrench the heart by posing questions to an artist’s lady of inspiration: “Does your golden hair fall in waves?/ No mention of a spot/ tantrum or tooth rot?” Oh! Mighty Engine is spotless and perfectly capped, too.