"They'll be stuck in your CD player for weeks, guaranteed."
Hal are destined to be compared to the Thrills: both groups are from Ireland; both are purveyors of ultra-hooky, dramatic vocal harmony-drenched tunes with a West Coat slant; and both are very, very good. Once you get past the surface comparisons, though, there are enough differences to reduce the similarities to a happy coincidence.
Echoes of the Beatles, Harry Nilsson, the Beach Boys, and Phil Spector are everywhere, and while those aren't exactly unique or even very interesting reference points in 2005, Hal again go beyond imitation and use their influences as a good band should, as guides and not blueprints. Hal really sound like another in the long line of melodic bands from the British Isles that has been dazzling music fans since the late '90s -- think Super Furry Animals, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, and (again, in case you forgot) the Thrills. Add some American groups like Mercury Rev at their poppiest and a choir-less Polyphonic Spree, or Canadians like the Heavy Blinkers, and if that list sounds like your record collection, you shouldn't think twice about adding Hal.