Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
What you're about to open up here is a new experience, a way of hearing this Huntington Beach, California band that calls itself Hellogoodbye, other than the one that you were expecting. It's an experience that goes easy on, almost absent of the group's electro-clash pop sound that it's been heard and fond of charming us with for almost 10 years now. This session and the three brand new songs found in it - some of which were written in a scary house in Big Bear, out in the mountains and woods on an all-dudes hang-out weekend - are an awakening to the pure elements of songwriting and musical prowess that this crew of young men have within them. As ambitious and tremendous as 2006's "Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs! And More!" was, it does not compare with the songs that lead singer Forrest Kline, Joe Marro, Travis Head, Aaron Flora and Ryan Daly are now making - hinting at a move to the sorts of classic frames and irresistible tempers and harmonies of "Odyssey & Oracle" Zombies material and experimentation with the ways that chopping songs down into their most basic skins and bones and then building them up only so much as they need. That is the band's newly discovered way and one of the best to make a song riveting and poignant - a moment of frozen time that will be passed along to others via kinetic energy and fevered rushes of post-listen excitement that get music lovers jabbering and salivating. It's a less is more approach and "When We First Met," "The Thought Gives Me The Creeps" and "Finding Something To Do," are three of the new results in this line of thinking - songs that likely will be on a full-length album sometime in the unforeseeable future. They are songs that give you plenty to dance to and break your heart - something almost every Beatles, Zombies and Motown song does - and it's why we consider them all to be benchmarks of rock and roll/R&B history. The raw and analog way that this session was taped - all live in one room as we always do - gives the songs so much power and pulse, letting them explain themselves in functioning degrees and in personable sensations that aren't going to ever get up and walk away from you. They are feelings and innate melodies that feel so timeless - coupled with thoughts that Kline isn't the only one worried about: of bad dreams, losing love in a heartbeat and finding the greatest comfort in all of the little things that we take for granted when we're silly with of petty concerns and worries - that they could already be a part of us. And yet, they sound so ambitious and spirited at the same time, offering us a brand new way of dealing with domestic bliss, domestic disappointment and all of the many different calibrations in between, setting all of these variants to their different colors and their many different tempos and needs. Hellogoodbye is poised to explain us to us and they plan to do it in a way that we'll not forget. It will make our perceptions and our trivialities relevant, feeling as if they're here for a reason. Our fears and our joys - they'll make sure - will be hemmed in harmonies.