Pye Hastings - From The Half House album review

Caravan frontman Pye Hastings' solo debut – at the youthful age of 70

Pye Hastings - From The Half House album artwork

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If you were expecting a kaleidoscope of grey and pink-tinged prog from Pye Hastings’ first ever solo album, look away now.

Self-recorded in – and named after – the Caravan mainman’s remote retreat in the Scottish Highlands, From The Half House is more akin to the work of Dire Straits and Chris Rea. Thankfully, however, the listening experience ain’t the equivalent of driving a knackered golf buggy the wrong way down the road to hell. Beginning with Better Days Are To Come, this is relaxed, reflective stuff. Hastings’ sweet-sounding voice is to the fore and apart from a burst of bludgeoning guitar at the beginning of I’ll Be The Judge, all is calm and serene. Highlights include When You’re On Your Own, with its twinkling Oldfield vibe, and the ballads To See You Again and Shine A Light For Me. But the best bit is on superiority-complex song There Will Always Be Someone, Hastings reminding us of cunning stunts of the past with: ‘What does he have when the party’s over/What can he do when he can’t join the hunt/What do you call a man with such talents/…Quite.’ In caravan (lower case ‘c’) terms, this is more tiny teardrop trailer than silver-studded Airstream, but given the heartfelt sensitivity of Hastings’ performance, it matters not a jot.

Geoff Barton

Geoff Barton is a British journalist who founded the heavy metal magazine Kerrang! and was an editor of Sounds music magazine. He specialised in covering rock music and helped popularise the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) after using the term for the first time (after editor Alan Lewis coined it) in the May 1979 issue of Sounds.