Over the past 23 years, Neil Halstead has earned an ardent following by making intensely atmospheric music with a near-hypnotic power. Hailed as “one of Britain’s most respected songwriters,” the singer/guitarist served as frontman and primary songwriter for Slowdive (the legendary shoegaze outfit whose seminal studio albums include 1993’s Souvlaki, co-produced by Brian Eno). After its 1995 breakup, Slowdive morphed into the Halstead-helmed Mojave 3 and released a string of highly celebrated records that merged jangly alt-country with dusky dream-pop. In 2006, Mojave 3 went on indefinite hiatus, prompting Halstead to embark on an acoustic-driven solo career marked by British-folk-inspired melody and ethereal nylon-string strumming.
The follow-up to his acclaimed sophomore solo effort Oh! Mighty Engine is the forthcoming September release Palindrome Hunches, which finds the Cornwall, England-based Halstead continuing to craft moody and endlessly mesmerizing folk-infused songs. This time around, Halstead teamed up with producer Nick Holton and members of Wallingford’s Band of Hope (including Ben Smith on violin, Drew Milloy on double bass, Paul Whitty on piano, and Tom Crook on guitar) to achieve a sound that’s both remarkably rich and piercingly intimate. Rounded out by Holton and Aimee Craddok on backup vocals (as well as banjo player Kevin Wells on two tracks), Palindrome Hunches bears an uncommon warmth that Halstead partly attributes to its recording’s setting and strategy.
Click on the on-demand archive player below to hear Neil play a few acoustic numbers on the Accidental Rhythm