Review Summary: Pretty, nostalgic.
Dinner Time don't reinvent the wheel, but they don't have to. Some time-tested formulas simply need an injection of youth, and that's exactly what this group provides us with on Halfway Down
. The band's sophomore record is very chill and dreamy guitar-driven indie rock with a distinct early 00s feel, accompanied by classic rock nostalgia. It's a no-frills recipe, but one that sounds timeless when executed to near-perfection like this album is.
is at its best when it leans extra hard into hazy guitar ambience and combines it with thoughtful introspection. For that reason, 'Affection' feels like an instant-classic, aesthetically meshing Frankie Valli's 'Can't Take My Eyes Off You' with The Flamingos' 'I Only Have Eyes For You'. It's a ballad dripping with both romance and permanence, sounding like something transposed from a long-forgotten era - only Dinner Time make it their own. Similar praise could be showered upon much of Halfway Down
for its drippy, hazy atmosphere: midtempo rockers like 'This Feeling Is...', 'No Problem', and 'What's the Deal' all feel like indie-rock approximations equidistantly located between Wilco and Nada Surf, channeling that night driving
sensation with potency.
Dinner Time ramps up their guitars to noisier decibels across the album's back half, with the title track basically existing as a jam session turned slinky piano outro, while 'Is There Something?' drives gritty electric guitars into your ears with exceptionally catchy choral chants to boot. They even showcase a jazzier side on 'Tiny Steps', where brass woodwinds sweep away the song's latter moments. At times it almost feels like a definitive, all-encompassing throwback indie experience, touching on a wide variety of sounds with equal success.
Dinner Time likely won't garner waves of attention for this record, but it certainly has its niche. When it comes to moody, guitar-heavy music with a classic sheen and just enough creative wrinkles in its fabric, this band can be found valiantly servicing that need. As such, Halfway Down
is a highly enjoyable, if easy to miss, indie-rock outing - but those who find this shimmering little gem will be better off for it.