Steve Halliday - Alive Anywhere
Owain Paciuszko 08/08/2009
From the off it is clear that London-based singer-songwriter Steve Halliday has a really impressive voice, and he's employed it well on opening track The Trees. It's a simply arranged acoustic number with an ethereal quality, and with Halliday's soft, lilting voice there's - transgenderly - a feeling of early Fairport Convention to his mystical acoustic-folk sound. This trickles over into the title track which has a thoughtful stop-start sound to its carefully plucked guitar line.
Things pick up tempo on We Don't Wanna Know, with Halliday strumming the guitar insistently and his vocal emotion tinged with a sense of urgency, it manages to belie a slightly dodgy track title to become a pleasingly feverish acoustic number. What is most beguiling about this record as a whole is Halliday's soothing, near-feminine voice, and the ammount of emotion he can easily convey whilst keeping his vocals controlled and melodic.
Whilst Halliday is a fine and talented artist this LP in its entirety is something of an endurance test, not because it's ever a particularly bad record, but it's a case of the old adage; too much of a good thing. At sixteen tracks clocking in at just over an hour, with most of the songs comprised of Halliday's voice and guitar, it's a little tricky to really remain focused through one listening. Citing an artist like Nick Drake as an influence should have corralled Halliday into perhaps being a bit more restrained in his choices, limiting the number of tracks may be difficult if you are - as an artist - protective and proud of all your work, but perhaps a shorter record would have been more accessible.