“What’s The Story With This Hole? was launched a couple of months back, on October 24th, but we didn’t reach a review here at LK until now. Despite my promise when checking out the album’s first single, “We’re Too Far Away (My Other Future, My Other Youth)”.
Craig Hallsworth is a skilled and experienced songwriter, who has been writing, playing and performing (as a singer, guitarist and principal songwriter) rock music for more than 30 years. Hallsworth’s been part of the Perth rock scene, with bands and projects such as The Bamboos, The Healers, The Slow Beings, Tangled Star. Hallsworth has recorded debut solo release for Hidden Shoal with Recorded and produced with long-time collaborator Al Smith (a.k.a. DrAlienSmith) at Smith’s Bergerk Studios. The creative Hallsworth is currently working on a second album! Not bad, I must say.
The nine tracks on What’s The Story With This Hole? shows a songwriter presenting catchy, poppy rock with snappy guitars maybe not of the most modern, innovative kind. Well, thank you. I’m all fine with songs like these. Hallsworth’s songs has a certain glow and warmth, as this is poppy, melodic guitar rock with elegance and a human touch. Plain, neat pop songs. Period. When checking out “We’re Too Far Away…”, I compared the song’s atmosphere and attitude with some of the Kiwi rock from the Flying Nun label years back. Another reference could be the power-pop of Matthew Sweet, but maybe also The dB’s, Velvet Crush, my old fave Tall Grass Captains of Greater Chicago and several others.
However, the album opens with “Your Kind In The World”, which is a song being both punchy and laidback (which is quite a difficult combo). The song might be describing Hallworth’s love for (melodic) rock music.
‘I saw an electric guitar
Leaning against an amplifier
I saw strange drawings and scribble
All over the wall
I saw the carpet crawl
How would I ever find my way
Out of that wilderness?’
What’s The Story With This Hole? rolls on indeed good, showing Hallsworth pulling fine songs out of his special hole in the ground. The already mentioned single, “We’re Too Far Away (My Other Future, My Other Youth)”, is one of the highlights, and so is “The Sphinx Is Working For The CIA”, the more psychedelic “Sunlight #1: Toxic Affirmation”, and the ballady “Ambrosial Friend”. Not to forget the long-stretched closing “Jonah, He Lived In A Micro-Apartment”, which ebbs with the tunes of an old evergreen, or hymn, or something. So, Craig Hallsworth, your What’s The Story With This Hole? is a very, very good and colourful album, being indeed charming, appealing and catchy. Exciting songs with flowering lyrics. To quote Hidden Shoal: ‘The real magic, however, lies a little concealed; songs often end up somewhere very different from where they started, and Hallsworth’s often surreal lyrical excursions act in striking counterpoint to the music.’
So, magic realism, aye? Or simply something (at times) real magic? Listening to What’s The Story With This Hole? is 3/4 of an hour well spent.”