With plenty of charm and good will – Italy’s Halflives are the kind of squeaky clean, polished product that are certain to come across well with a youthful audience with a taste for a hooky chorus and power vocals. Crowd funded debut album Empty Rooms sees the band achieve a pleasant, hand shaker of a record – which at its surface will draw the aforementioned audience in, but at its core lacks any real bite to see it achieve crossover appeal.
Tracks such as the pop punk-esque ‘Mayday’ and ‘The Sickness’ feature a level of bounce and naivety reminiscent of early Tonight Alive material, creating moments that are difficult to not tap along to at the very least.
With Against The Current and PVRIS being far and away the clearest influences for the record, Empty Rooms falls into the dangerous habit of sounding overly similar to work that has already broken into the mainstream.
While ‘Burn’ and ‘Echo’ show off the undeniable stretch of vocalist Linda Battilani, at the same time the tracks are equally bland and void of any kind of distinct nature which could identify Halflives as bringing something, if anything new to the genre.
This is a concept that unfortunately can be applied to the whole record. Void of identity and character, Empty Rooms is sadly the tale of a talented singer in Battilani powering her way through tracks that are lacking in life and ingenuity.
While Empty Rooms will almost certainly strike a chord with particular demographics; on a strictly musical scale it struggles to stack up to its own influences whom themselves aren’t always the most musically progressive/challenging. Halflives may well have a future ahead of them but to truly make their mark, barriers are going to need to be pushed further than they are here.
Review by Kristian Pugh