Yes, you read that correctly. We can’t believe it either. Neil Halstead, formerly of Slowdive (and, lest we forget, Mojave 3) is releasing his new solo album ‘Palindrome Hunches’ via Sonic Cathedral on November 5.
As we said when we announced the Gravenhurst/Beach Fossils tribute single the other day, we believe that Neil is the most underrated British songwriter of the past 20 years. In fact, we feel genuinely aggrieved that his talents are so under-appreciated, not least because Sonic Cathedral wouldn’t exist without them. Neil, however, doesn’t seem to care; he just carries on doing what he does so well, in his own inimitable and understated way.
And ‘Palindrome Hunches’ is definitely understated. Recorded live in a junior school music room in Wallingford, Oxfordshire with producer Nick Holton and local musicians the Band Of Hope, it is a strikingly dark collection of twilit folk tunes. It’s a world away from Slowdive’s blissed-out squall, but Neil finds all of his musical ventures united by a certain dreaminess of spirit. “With Slowdive it was less about the songs and more about atmosphere and sound,” he says. “So after the band ended I went through a period where I just wanted to learn to write the perfect song. I’m still learning that now, but the songs have a similar mood. For me it’s about exploring all these different approaches you can take to expressing your own weird way of looking at the world.”
And we love his weird way of looking at the world, as evidenced by the opening track of the new album, ‘Digging Shelters’, which was premiered earlier today on The Line Of Best Fit. Grab a free download of it here…