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Halfway to Gone | Second Season | review | stoner | rock | Lollipop

Halfway to Gone

Second Season (Small Stone)
by Brian Varney

Continuing along the heavenward arc of momentum begun by last year's High Five, Halfway To Gone exhibit both astonishing productivity and creative growth with Second Season, the band's sophomore full-length (and second in under a year). Southern by way of New Jersey (and by the grace of God), Halfway To Gone are something like a 'roid-driven power-trio crossing of Led Zeppelin and Lynyrd Skynyrd. This shit is almost ridiculously heavy yet inherently musical and song-driven, which immediately sets the band apart from the stoner thing. And, thanks to the mammoth production, Second Season is an album that absolutely demands to be played earth-shakingly loud. The guitar will take chunks of flesh the size of sirloin steaks from your body as the sound roars past and the drums sound like the pistons in a car the size of Texas.

The band's songwriting skills were quite apparent on the debut and frontman Lou Gorra's Ronnie V.-like way with a song was one of that album's selling points, and Second Season's no different. Tightly-constructed, catchy-as-all-hell tunes like "Great American Scumbag" (a statement of purpose if ever there was one, opening with an unaccompanied Gorra bellowing "Back of my hand gonna give you a fat lip!"), "Escape from Earth," and the brooding "Never Comin' Home" are but three of the finer songs to be had on an album full to the brim with 'em. And, as on High Five, the album is dotted with instrumentals like "Black Coffy" where the band stretches out, indulging in a mellow, space-rock vibe. These bits are sorta like the "Doobinterlude" from the latest Down album, where you're given the chance to take a breather, mellow out, and smoke a fatty (if you're so inclined) before the ass-whomping resumes (for more mellowness, check the unlisted Marshall Tucker Band cover, which is going to make me cry someday).

And resume it does. End-to-end, this is a solid album, and one that squarely places the "band to watch out for" bulls-eye dead center on these guys. They do it all, and they do it with volume, attitude, and style to spare. So do your part, buy their albums, and go see them live. Just don't offer to pay their bar tab unless you want to die in debt.
(PO Box 02007 Detroit, MI 48202)  

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