Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
Where I go when I need to just unplug and evaporate from the prickly bushes and barbed wire of the regular days is to the death chronicles of Hallelujah The Hills. It's where they go to do the same and it's where they would suggest that most people might prepare to visit. They don't have to be the death chronicles that they've illuminated on their records because these exist on their own, out there and beleaguered, entrancing and full of provoking thought. The Boston band is assuredly about more than just death, but in its finest light, they've shed some on that final goodbye and made some songs - some comforting and some vengeful - about getting (or taking) your final mailing address.
They've made the very possibility of death a relationship that's as complex as they come. They insist that it might be okay to examine what it means and what's best for you. Would you like your death now or later, will you need a receipt, will there be company, will it be soft, will it be how you hoped it would be when you first learned about the condition? Lead singer Ryan Walsh has written odes to the peaceful institution of the lights going out, of taking that vow of silence that no one has the power to avoid. He's made it nice to think that there are plenty of people who could possibly have control over the release button, other than the suicidal tendencies and machinations that lead some to do away with it all.
The escape clause is how he describes it in a song of the same name by a former band that he played in called The Stairs. It's pleasing and soft here, a rendition that leaves you woozy from the tenderness that he gives the thought that there is an acceptable and agreeable means to an end and an end to a means when the luster of the day-to-day has worn off or there's a preferred way to be done with the grinding of gears and the rat race, which it almost always becomes. The way he puts it or so it seems, is that there can be a slowly floating cloud that just whisks one away, that person still getting to wave lightly to all of the people he or she's passed throughout the times they've had in the trenches. Walsh has a knack for dressing up the blemishes that are always so glaring in the everyday existence. It seems like most of his lyrics relish them as the individual touches that are needed to accent all of the mundane delirium that we run smack into when we open the door.
He makes all of the frivolous thoughts and matters that bog people down indefinitely into the aspects that need to be embraced, or else someone else will. It's not the party that really matters at the end of the day, it's the three minutes during that party when you met someone for the first time and had a feeling that it was going to lead to something meaningful and deep or it's the two seconds that it took for you to get thrown into the pool. You were mad for a while because you had your phone in your pocket and now that's gone, but everyone else jumped in to show their solidarity for your misfortune and it became something special. Those are the moments that probably get worked back to you when the ink is drying on the final chapter of the death chronicles - the whole deathbed and light thing. The reflections that Hallelujah The Hills present for us to witness once again - or for the familiar first time - are those that should be priceless in most value systems. Walsh and the rest of the band find that the monkeys on the backs can be lovable as well as burdensome and that makes for good narrative and a good run.
Hallelujah The Hills Official Site