Published Sep 23, 2016Though Greg Halpin may have garnered national attention as a member of now-defunct indie pop outfit Honheehonhee and still-at-it folk-rock group Lakes of Canada, the Montreal-based singer/songwriter is best known in his hometown as a busker with big dreams. That image is central to the duality of Notes from a Bedroom; though featuring little more than Halpin singing and playing guitar, the album features a vast vision that confronts how digital connectivity fragments human interaction.
Heavily inspired by the early work of Bob Dylan, Halpin works within a limited sonic palette to showcase his ear for hooks while also demonstrating a restlessness and desire to stretch out and experiment. Tracks "Let it Grow" and "One Last Love Song" have identical melodies, and lyrics on songs including "Lonely AF" and "There's Gotta Be More Than This" tackle Millennial anxiety and technology-induced social decay, sparing no pretension in language or subject matter. Human connectivity also shaped the record's creation — it was funded through Halpin's busking and an online crowdfunding campaign — and his desire to engage and interact with others is palpable, as is his frustration when modern technology complicates said desire.
It makes for a compelling listen but, at over an hour in length, the record tends to overstay its welcome; much like busking, it's better suited to segmented listening, in smaller chunks. No matter what kind of journey one goes on in the interim, Halpin — the ever-stalwart busker — will be there, guitar in hand, when you're back. (You've Changed)