HAAL share new single “Platform 1, 18:19”

Today, four-piece Bristol outfit HAAL return with the announcement of a new EP titled “Back To Shilmarine”, which is due out 10th May. To mark the news, the band have also shared a crushing new single titled “Platform 1, 18:19”.

Combining elements of post-rock, trip-hop, and industrial music, HAAL have quickly become cult favourites in the UK live scene. Their psychotropic blend of samples, DIY pedals, and monolithic instrumentation, has seen the band play and tour alongside the likes of Kyoto Kyoto, Cowboyy, Deliluh, Treeboy & Arc, Ditz, Gurriers, and Pet Shimmers, as well as appearing festivals such as ArcTanGent and more.

Coming on the heels of their recent singles “Janus” and “Judy” (and subsequent remixes by Water From Your Eyes and Crimewave), the new EP “Back To Shilmarine” arrives as a blistering snapshot of the band’s protean dynamism. The band celebrate their late-90s / early-00s influences in a caustic yet melodic blend of tracks that nod as much to the output of labels such as Dischord, Touch and Go, and Nothing Records, as they do their contemporaries in the UK scene such as SCALER, Famous, deathcrash, and LICE. The EP sees them bring all these touchstones together to create a unique and uninhibited maelstrom of sound that spans everything from intricate math-inflected guitar lines and pensive vocals to propulsive drumming, totemic riffing, and warped synths.

Arguably some of HAAL’s heaviest material to date, “Platform 1, 18:19” offers the first look into this new material melding motorik rhythms and hypnotic riffs with sudden explosions of noise and power. However, as ever with HAAL, there is more than meets the eye – the track also features samples completely abstracted from their sources, for instance, the drone that begins the song is taken from a video of frontman Alfie Hay and his friends beating Bop It.

Describing it as one of the most personal tracks on the EP, Hay says, “it was written when I wasn’t feeling very great or hopeful. I wrote down a lot of thoughts down whilst waiting for a train to return home but felt very empty, hence the title. It materialised into a poem of sorts, which I tried to use as a cathartic release of those feelings, but it ended up just gathering dust in my notes app. However, when time presented itself to needing lyrics for this song, I found them to fit particularly well. It’s low tuning and eerie atmosphere re-contextualised the words to have an angrier feel to it, which I found to be more fitting.”

Elsewhere on the EP, the lyrics explore themes of cosmic existentialism, absurdism, meaning, transhumanism, inner reflection, science, history, and general philosophy. “All the lyrics are musings or verses that I wrote at very different times in my life” says Hay. “I then had to fit them around the music, despite being written at wildly different periods.”

“In my day-to-day life I don’t like to be very serious and am not a very serious person generally, but I think my lyrics always end up being the opposite because of my nonseriousness and it explodes out in my music. One review from our last show in Nottingham described us as having ‘uninhibited rage’, which I’d never considered before, but I think that sums everything up quite nicely.”

The record was once again recorded with long-time collaborator Alfie Tyson Brown (Katy J Pearson, LICE, SCALER) at The Louisiana in Bristol. The band have a tight knit collaborative circle around them, this is particularly notable around the band’s imagery. The entire art direction – all the EP artwork, photography, and video work – has been a process between the band’s friends. They are so talented, that it would be borderline stupid not to all work together on something” says Hays, “and this EP is very much a representation of that entire collaborative process.”

HAAL’s use of visuals is intrinsically tied to their music and is a focal point of their live shows with them performing in front of visceral, carefully curated images and animations. The band will be heading out on the road to play a number of shows to celebrate new EP’s release, including a return to ArcTanGent Festival in August. Full dates are as follows:

04/05/24 – Wanderlust Festival, Southampton
18/05/24 – Rough Trade, Bristol w/ Jerome – GravyTrain – Ekhidna
06/06/24 – The George Tavern, London w/ Unlucky & Sulk – Bad Vibrations
16/08/24 – ArcTanGent Festival, Bristol

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