The Black Halos We Are Not Alone

The fourth full-length from Vancouver bad boys the Black Halos, We Are Not Alone is just as confusing, albeit unsurprising, as the band’s reputation. Twelve tracks steeped in four-chord rock’n’roll that rarely vary out of the time-honoured formula, from the first trashy note of "Disbelief” through to "Download,” singer Billy Hopeless is as barnacle-laden as ever, and the blending of twang and crunch from each guitar reeks of the Stooges and MC5. Trouble is, this is what we expect from the Halos and throughout the course of the album each song feels like just more of the same old phoned-in gutter rock that even these guys seem hard-pressed to really get into. The mid-tempo pacing and relatively uneventful delivery of the songs feel more like someone punching the time clock rather than unleashing their inner demons, resulting in the worst fate of all: not being moved to either hate or love it. While it’s wonderful that the Black Halos haven’t disintegrated so far as to become hated, it’s frustrating that a collection of such loveable sleaze balls could render themselves mediocre at best. (Hollywood)