Tuesday 3 March 2015

Halfbeak - Almost Smiling

Tim Gum
Who knows which coloured line ran under our feet as we stood listening to Halfbeak in the Betsey Trotwood, London. The rumbling Tubes of the Metropolitan, Circle and Hammersmith & City added to an almost Victorian ambience in the catacombs of this famous music niche. It was apt that we should be here in the Betsey for Halfbeak provided us with more searching narratives than a Dicken's novel.

Halfbeak on this occasion were Tim Gum (vocals/guitar), Theresa Elflein (vocals/guitar) and Rob Hartley (bass). They have 5 albums/EPs to date, Almost Smiling (2012), The New Happy (2012), The Jogger (2012), Killing one bird with two stones (2012) and Things I knew (2014).

Theresa Elflein
For us it was a night of sitting on Tim Gum's metaphorical knee as he led us through his stories and modern day fables. This wasn't of the fairytale kind though, here protagonists left their rose-tinted glasses at the door and wore hearts on sleeves. Often there were pangs of loneliness despite both the voices of Gum and Elflein working together. They rarely played the conversational game between the two of them for it was us who were the target of their confessions and hopes. For Anon was such a song, even though they called out to us as friends we remained behind the latticed screen of the confessional.

Fine instrumental work on The New Happy gave us the choice of differing paths again but warmth won true by the end. The charms of Halfbeak were real ones, not silver baubles hanging on a chain, but keen observations which once shared become new truths and common ground.

Rob Hartley
By the end we had died, fallen out of love and been reborn several times, so much so that we had absorbed the gallows humour of Halfbeak and swayed together in their questioning light. If you want The Answer to some of their teasing lyrics and what to do with a swooning fat baboon then their album 'Almost Smiling' is available for a modest £3 from Bandcamp.


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