This 2016 mini-album is my first experience of Canadian progressive band Half Past Four, and the only question I have is “where have you been?”. My initial reaction to this was if ever a band was channelling the spirit of classic Zappa with Seventies Rundgren and then throwing in some King Crimson, Cardiacs, Poisoned Electrick Head and others then this has to be it! Also, if there are any Max Webster fans out there, then you need head straight to their cover of “Toronto Tontos” which is more strident, with wider extremes, than the original which featured on the debut album. It even includes squeaky toys!!
The band is comprised of Kyree Vibrant (lead vocals), Dmitry Lesov (bass guitar, chapman stick, vocals), Igor Kurtzman (keyboards, vocals), Constantin Necrasov (guitars, vocals) and Marcello Ciurleo (drums). I had a look at their website, and I loved this statement “Like the best of progressive rock music, the listener cannot predict where the band will take them next. It is this shifting flow of sound and feeling that distinguishes Half Past Four. They are an aural tapestry, weaving 50+ years of musical influences into mellifluous melodies and rhythmic resonances that take their listeners on a journey to states that are both fresh and familiar.” This is music that is truly progressive, refusing to sit within one particular style or another, moving and changing so that Kyree can be singing sweetly one minute or virtually shouting the next with a totally different timbre, while the band all of a sudden is based around the piano, whereas at others it is definitely the guitar, or is it the bass, but there again the drum patterns are all over the place…..
This is one of the most exciting and vibrant progressive bands I have come across in recent years, producing music that is complex, refusing to conform to what anyone feels should be produced, and is definitely progressing as opposed to regressing. This five-track mini-album is only 26 minutes long, and I can only hope that we will soon hear a full-length release. As for me, I’m going to have to go back and discover their first two albums, as music as good as this screams out to be heard.