Half String

A Fascination with Heights

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Half String fall in with the fair number of American bands to be heavily influenced by British shoegazing and dream pop in the mid-'90s -- the band shares heavy sonic similarities with Pennsylvania's Ocean Blue (or California's Riverside), and shares their apparent influences from Ride, Lush, Chapterhouse, the Cocteau Twins and the countless other acts in the British dream pop scene. When one comes across an album like A Fascination with Heights, which didn't make it too far beyond the band's roots in Arizona, there's always the expectation that it will be an amateurish rehashing of these influences. The surprise is that Half String's work ranks right up there with the best of their predecessors', and like Ocean Blue, their American roots help them avoid some of the British scene's more flowery or overproduced tendencies. A Fascination with Heights is well-written, beautifully focused and does such a good job of using its dream-pop influences that it tends to sound more definitive than derivative -- while its very independent roots kept it from receiving much attention, it's certainly as worthy as many higher-profile records.

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