Sound: Allow me to introduce to you, one of the best kept secrets in the northwest, The Halo Benders. While the name may not be recognizable to many, the band is lead by two of the most well know indie rockers from the early '90s. The leaders of this side project have very unique voices. Calvin Johnson (from indie pioneers Beat Happening) a deep baritone who carries the band with his odd way of telling stories through his deep bass of a voice. Meanwhile, Doug Martsch (from Built to Spill, one of the most popular bands of the early '90s indie scene) voice contrasts beauitifully with his high pitched, whiny, yet utterly amazing vocals. Although a stretch, one gets the feeling that the Halo Benders were a modern day Blink 182, not for the humor, but for the contrast between the two lead vocalists, although the Halo Benders are more talented with there instruments. With their album God don't Make No Junk, the Benders showed the world that two unique views of music could come together to create a wondeful sound.
Lyrics: The lyrics will make you think with this album. The standout song "Snowfall", is driven by a catchy acoustic guitar riff accompanied by Martsch's carefully thought out lyrics. Johnson overlays Martsch's lyrics with his own interpretation of their song. Often in Halo Bender songs, both lead singers contrast eachother lyrically as well as their voices. "From ashes come sunset, she tried to explain. But also Ice ages, and black acid rains". The words seem to fit so perfect, yet they make you think when you listen to each song and wonder if your interpretation is the same as theirs. A few more standouts include "On a Tip", which will be stuck in your head all day with its catchy guitar riff. "Big Rock Candy Mountain" is also a solid representation of what The Halo Benders are all about. // 8
Overall Impression: When I first heard of the Halo Benders, I'll admit I was turned off. Johnsons deep voice wasn't for me. After a couple listens I eventually enjoyed the contrast and began searching for more albums by one of the most intriguing bands I'd ever heard. With the similarity in most modern rockers, I recommend you give the Halo Benders a listen, to try something new. If I lost this CD, I'd probably have to find the person that took it and give them a beating, or buy it again. Either way would do. // 9