Halogyns are an all-female, guitar based alternative rock/pop group hailing from St. George in Utah. The group formed only last year and consists of Kamry Thelin, Dana Fontaine and Mari Ericksen who are aged between 17-19. Despite their relative youth and newness as a group they sound as if they’ve been playing for years and have emerged with a fully fledged, distinctive sound and artistic persona on this EP. Musically, they are comparable to Haim, at times recalling the 90’s alternative group The Cardigans and even further back, Blondie.
This EP, Human Nature, consists of six tracks and from the first seconds of opening song, Take Me Under, you feel you’re listening to a group with something a bit special. Built around a hypnotic lead guitar riff and breaking into a Heart of Glass-style alt. disco beat, the next thing that captivates you is Kamry Thelin’s voice and emotive vocal style. Their music is a very modern blend of pop, alternative/indie and a distinct but understated dance influence.
Lyrically, it fits the slight melancholy feel of the music, encapsulating the beginning of a romantic relationship before feelings have been confessed. This is summed up succinctly in the chorus: “I wanna love you but I keep quiet, you radiate the waves so take me under…”. A beautiful, poignant song you can dance to, and a fine start to the EP.
Even better is Love Drug, a slightly moodier but equally infectious alternative pop track with a swinging feel. After an understated verse and brooding bridge underpinned with a pulsing bass line it builds to a fantastic chorus built on a hi-hat heavy dance groove (the drumming throughout the EP is excellent).
The chorus hook is superb and lyrically depicts the opposite of the previous song, expressing conflicted feelings about a difficult relationship: “We got history but you see that don’t mean anything at all…. you poison dreams with your love drug”….”. With its Nile Rodgers-esque funk guitars and addictive hook, this would make a perfect single.
Next is the title track which shows the band’s gentler side. Based on a picked acoustic and light electric guitar chord progression, Kamry delivers a moving vocal performance that brought to mind Stevie Nicks. Once again, the lyrics dwell on relationship issues with poignancy and insight: “Don’t know how to function when your love burns my skin, get it all together…why do I let you in?”. It’s a sophisticated and mature take on the difficulties of love, all the more impressive considering their age.
Control is a return to their alt. disco signature sound, this one propelled by a Stayin’ Alive type low-end guitar riff and an interlocking bass and drum groove. As with their other songs, this one is enriched with Haim-style backing harmonies, especially on the chorus. This song is about dealing with a domineering partner, something that will resonate with a lot of women (“I feel your control….it’s all I know…”). Another great track that is a possible contender as a single.
Break is another classy piece of songwriting, this one a mid-paced pop track full of gorgeous lilting melodies and rich vocal harmonies. They truly sound like the musical successors of Fleetwood Mac and Haim on this one in particular, and the delay drenched guitar riff is also highly effective, reminiscent of the guitar style used by U2’s The Edge.
The EP ends with the lead single What You Want. It features the group’s now familiar strengths, starting out with a strident four-to-the-floor beat on the punchy first verse. It’s underpinned by yet more propulsive guitar work and intricate, restlessly inventive drumming, serving as the backdrop for another heart-rending vocal performance from Kamry. Lyrically, it’s another conflicted tale which captures the torment of torn feelings and feeling alone in a relationship, yet finding strength in the process: “I found my own way…. “you’re no longer my weakness”…”.
Overall, this is a consistently brilliant EP from a young female group who have already mastered their musical style and sound. Showing a lyrical maturity beyond their years, they write affecting yet accessible alternative pop songs that will connect with many, given the chance. I get to review a lot of talented up and coming artists, but if I had to put my money on one act becoming the ‘next big thing’ it would be Halogyns.
VERDICT = 9.3 out of 10