Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, step right up!
You won’t believe your eyes!
Behind this curtain witness something you’ve never heard before…Welcome to the
Freak show! Behold ‘The Strange Case of…’ Halestorm! If you had any expectations
for this band’s sophomore follow up, throw them out the window now because
there is no accounting for what, or even who you’ll get on this album. As Hale
cleverly puts it on the track ‘Mz. Hyde’ “Put on the blindfold, there’s no way to be
sure which girl you’ll get tonight”.
Like any good sideshow act, Halestorm knows the importance of good old
fashioned shock value, and uses that to their advantage. Tracks like ‘Freak Like
Me’ and ‘you Call Me A Bitch Like It’s a Bad Thing’ evoke enough interest without
much introduction needed. But what really makes this album interesting is the
emotional roller coaster going on from one song to the next. To call it an eclectic
mix would be an understatement, with pop ballads to heavy riffs harkening a
Skid Row vibe, the album’s title is the perfect sentiment to describe its seemingly
schizophrenic personality. Hale cunningly channels this split personality into a
theme for the record giving the transitions from heavy, dirty anthems ‘Freak Like
Me’ to soft, melodic ‘Beautiful With You’ ballad what seems to be a sense of direction
and explanation for the violent spewing of the emotion spectrum going on here.
Though the idea, is a witty, and playful one- as such in the style of the Halestorm we
met on the first record- ultimately it seems to have thwarted the potential musical
orgasm expected from such promising talent. It’s a build up with no release. Tracks
1 through 4 with their gritty, dark, dirty intensity rise to a point in the album where
one would expect something completely off the scale to hit next, but instead are left
with blue balls, as the freak show becomes a daytime soap opera with ballads like
‘Beautiful With You’, ‘In Your Room’ and ‘Break In’.
It’s an interesting follow up for a band who’s musicianship and vocal talent are
probably some of the strongest talent in the market to date. That being said, with
great talent comes great expectations, and while the concept was a clever diversion
I think the freak show may need to rethink some of their acts before hitting their full
stride. Overall, the circus tricks will draw in the audience on this album, but it’s the
musicianship that holds the schizophrenic thrill ride together and will ultimately
keep listeners coming back for more. Come for the thrills, stay for the music!
by Kristin Tully